Friday night after the Sioux Center football game against West Lyon, the two teams joined together for a moment of student-led prayer from West Lyon sophomore Easton Fleshman. While the teams praying together doesn’t happen often, football teams in our area often finish the night in prayer with their teammates.

And yes, coaches and staff participate.

According to Justin Scott, the Iowa director for American Atheists, coaches and school staff should not participate in those prayers at all. They shouldn’t even be around for them.

Scott was named the Atheist of the Year in 2017 by American Atheists. He called me Monday afternoon to ask for details about this prayer.

I told him I’ve seen at least four public high schools in our area pray, coaches included, after football games.

Who knows if anything comes of this, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see outcry from outsiders who simply do not understand the hearts and minds of the people here in Northwest Iowa.

Justin and I had a lengthy conversation about many things. Ultimately, there was one question that stood out in my mind throughout the call that eventually I asked…

“What’s the worst thing that could happen to a kid, believer or unbeliever, by participating in this prayer?”

I don’t believe I ever really received an answer.

I wondered why someone would spend so much time attempting to take a stand against something — or someone — they don’t believe even exists.

I could go on and on, but I won’t.

What I will say is this — thank you.

Thank you to the coaches and teachers who refuse to leave their faith out of any part of their lives. Thank you for allowing your faith to direct you in all areas of your life — as it is supposed to.

When the atheists come to our corner of the state demanding you stop participating in prayer with our students, we will have your back.