Profits for Prayer Matters


VINDICATOR EXCLUSIVE

Staff report

BELOIT

The Prayer Matters cause in West Branch School District has raised more than $20,000 after the sale of about 4,000 shirts.

“It’s unbelievable,” said parent and cause co-founder Brandy Pidgeon. “It’s a true blessing from above.”

West Branch parents Pidgeon and Kristen Everett established a nonprofit to sell shirts that read “Prayer Matters” after the district halted prayer before athletic events.

The halt came after the district received a letter Jan. 18 from the Freedom From Religion Foundation stating the practice is unconstitutional.

Proceeds from the cause, Pidgeon said, will go toward a defense fee for West Branch schools “fighting the war on religion.”

“This could go nationwide to help fund other schools” facing a similar situation, she added.

For information about the Prayer Matters cause, visit prayer-matters.org.

In response to the halt, the school allowed a moment of silence at the home varsity basketball game Feb. 9.

Schools Superintendent Tim Saxton said the jury is still out as to what the new permanent practice will be before athletic games.

Rebecca Markert, FFRF legal director, said the best course of action would be to just cease the action of prayer.

“Usually a school talks to their attorney and comes back saying the prayer will no longer take place,” she said.

“We rarely ever have to take it to court because the law is so clear. ... The law is very clear what is allowed and what is not, and school-sponsored activities should be free from religious affiliations.”

The next boys’ basketball varsity home game is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at West Branch High, 14277 S. Main St., where the team will play Lincoln West Schools.

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