Show of support for Bell Co. pre-game prayer

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

Weeks ago Bell County High School was forced to do away with the pre-game prayer at football games because of a family's complaint. Now members of the community are fighting back, one shirt at a time.

There's a good chance those filling the stands at the next home football game may be dressed exactly alike.

Chris Masingo hasn't had much free time.

"Oh yeah, been pretty busy," said Masingo.

With each swipe comes another shirt. It's cloth printed to publicize a message.

"There's still people that want to pray," said Shawn Collins.

Shawn Collins runs the Ideal Print Shop in Middlesboro. A group of Bell County High School students wanted a handful of shirts printed that said "Let us pray."

"When we found out they were standing up for prayer, we wanted as a business to back those children," said Collins.

The husband and wife team put their plan into motion, agreeing to print 1,000 shirts for free.

It all started a couple of weeks ago at the City-County Bowl when folks handed out a piece of paper. It was a voucher that gives people a chance to call the print shop and put in an order for a shirt.

Since that time, the shop has not been able to print shirts fast enough. Orders are stacking up.

Now the goal is 1,500.

"I have my order in, and I can't wait to get them," said Angie Horton, of Bell County.

At the next home game September 30th, supporters plan to wear their shirts and say the Lord's Prayer aloud, after the national anthem.

"Shawn is doing something that no other business in this town has offered to do," said Horton.

"We were afraid the children would get the idea that the adults didn't care," said Yvonne Collins.

Shirt after shirt and order by order - all organized by one family, unafraid to take a stand.

The school system said there will be a moment of silence after the national anthem. And during that time, people are free to do whatever they want.

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