SANTA FE, Texas -- A statewide prayer protest of a U.S. Supreme Court ban on school-sanctioned pre-game prayer fell flat on the high school football field that launched the debate.
After the national anthem ended at Santa Fe High School's home opener Friday, about 200 of the crowd of 4,500 recited "The Lord's Prayer." Protest organizers had boldly predicted that 10,000 Christians would converge at the game.
Those who did pray were drowned out by the loudspeakers -- which the high court said could not be used to broadcast a prayer -- when the announcer introduced the visiting team.
"It was obvious that the announcer jumped right in after the anthem, and then it was too late to do anything," said Becky Frye, mother of a Santa Fe player. "If people could have appointed a leader for every section, we could have overcome the speaker."
The Texas-based group No Pray No Play, from the town of Temple, led the movement to encourage Christians to pray as soon as the national anthem was finished at games across the state Friday.
About six people drove 175 miles from Temple to Santa Fe for the prayer session, a few others wore shirts created by No Pray No Play.
"We weren't trying to get everybody on the same line," said No Pray No Play spokesman David Newsome. "We didn't come here and say we were going to orchestrate this thing one-two-three like they're doing out there on the field with the band."
In June, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that amplified, student-led prayer approved by public school officials crossed the line in the separation of church and state.
The Santa Fe Independent School District was the defendant in the case.
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