Former Congressman Allen West claimed that school-sponsored prayer was responsible for a lack of injuries during his days playing high-school football during a speech to a Texas group, Right Wing Watch reported.
“I mean, you were not a tough football player unless you did try to hit someone head-on,” the Florida Republican said. “And even in high school, before every game at Grady Stadium, the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember catastrophic injuries. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
West’s remarks were a reference to a dispute between the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville involving on-field prayers held before the school’s football games.
According to the Friendly Atheist, the school said in a letter that it would hold “non-sectarian” prayers instead of ceasing the practice entirely. The foundation said it had received complaints that the university was holding explicitly Christian prayers before being called out over the practice.
“That’s a lot of people to offend and exclude, and we’d encourage students to keep working on it,” foundation co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said. “I feel that if people who truly are offended speak out, and there are a lot of them, then eventually we will be able to stop this through persuasion.”
According to his website, West played football for two years while attending Grady High School in Atlanta. The team won 1 game during that time, while suffering 19 losses.
Watch West’s remarks, as posted by Right Wing Watch on Monday, below.