One of the Supreme Court’s most controversial rulings this summer centered on a public school in Washington and its praying football coach. The justices ruled 6-3 that Joe Kennedy could pray at the 50-yard line without tramping his players’ religious freedom rights.
Although the decision was decried by many faith groups and attorneys, a new survey from The Associated Press and NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans are pretty supportive of what the justices did.
“The poll shows 54% of Americans approve of the ruling, while 22% disapprove and 23% hold neither opinion,” The Associated Press reported.
In general, U.S. adults are supportive of prayers at public school sporting events, despite past Supreme Court rulings saying schools must be careful not to force students to take part in religious activities.
“Solid majorities think a coach leading a team in prayer (60%), a player leading a team in prayer (64%) and a coach praying on the field without asking the team to join in (71%) should all be allowed in public high school sports,” The Associated Press reported.
The new poll also asked respondents to share their own sports-related prayer practices. It found that around one-quarter of professional sports fans have prayed about the outcome of a game, including 35% of evangelical fans and even 15% of nonreligious fans, The Associated Press reported.
“About 3 in 10 U.S. adults say they believe it can play a role in determining who wins a sporting event, and a similar percentage say God plays a role,” the article said.
One Chicago Bears fan told The Associated Press that her prayers were answered when the team won the Super Bowl in 1986, but that, since then, she’s given up on asking God to intervene in football games.
“The Bears have been doing so terribly. ... I just think we’re not meant to win,” said Dolores Mejia to The Associated Press.