For over a decade, wrestlers from the Parkersville South (West Virginia) High School have chosen to wear shirts which bear the scriptural verse: "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." This motto was also emblazoned on the team's website.
After a complaint from the Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation, Wood County (WV) School Superintendent Pat Law, demanded that the team take the motto off their web presence, but for the time being the students can continue to voluntarily wear the shirts. It was prudent for the grapplers to take the verse off their website so that there is no question about the separation of church and state. But the privately funded tee shirts with the empowering message are another story altogether.
The school is concerned about agitation from aggressive atheist groups who want to wipe any expression of Christian faith from the public square, while balancing the rights of citizens.
Even though the Parkersburg South wrestlers had been voluntarily wearing these shirts (paid for by parent boosters), the school system rolled at the raising of one complaint. Presumably this was to avoid costly law suits. It is dubious if the Wood County will dare to bar other t-shirts which others might find "offensive".
Aside from the outcomes of games, high school sports teach valuable lessons. The Parkersburg South Wrestling kerfluffle demonstrates that a lone dissenting voice can overcome an empowering message with the quisling support of a politically correct administrator.
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