Community and faith are major parts of what makes America great … but now both are under attack in a small town in the Midwest.
Lake City, Michigan, is home to only about 900 people. It’s a scenic place ripped from a postcard: The main street runs along a beautiful lake, as you might have guessed from the town’s name, and residents are proud of the locally-famous “Greatest Fourth in the North” festival that’s celebrated every Independence Day.
Like so many small towns across the Midwest, you might say that Lake City is defined by three “F’s” — family, faith, and football. Over at the local high school, the Trojans football team is as much about teaching boys to become young men as it is about winning championships.
This season, however, they’ve been a bit distracted. The young coach of the team has been forced to focus on his 4-year-old daughter, who has been fighting for her life for nearly two months at a Michigan hospital.
The team has rallied around their coach and the very sick little girl … but several atheist groups, which can only be described as bullies, have decided to target the community through a series of pathetic attacks.
First, a group called the Michigan Association of Civil Rights Activists, or “MACRA,” caused a major stir over a video posted by the football team on Facebook.
That uplifting and powerful video clip showed the team, along with members of the community, forming a “family circle” around the entire football field. It was totally voluntary and meant to show support for coach Kyle Smith and his daughter, Harper, who is struggling with a life-threatening intestinal infection.
MACRA — which is largely a one-man operation run by known troublemaker Mitch Kahle — took issue with the family circle because it showed some people praying during the event.
What, exactly, is wrong with people voluntarily praying for a 4-year-old girl to get well during a voluntary event? Plenty, or so the outspoken atheist Kahle claimed.
“The bottom line is it’s the property of the school, and the school has a responsibility to treat it just like any other school property, and that means it has to remain free of religion,” Kahle, the co-founder of MACRA declared to WWTV News.
You’ve probably already spotted the big lie: The claim that a football field or even a public school “has to remain free of religion” is absolutely false, and goes against the very First Amendment that Kahle claims to defend.
“It appears that some school officials, teachers and parents have assumed that religious expression of any type is either inappropriate, or forbidden altogether, in public schools.” That was — ironically enough — Democrat President Bill Clinton in an official memo he wrote to the attorney general.
“Nothing in the First Amendment converts our public schools into religion-free zones, or requires all religious expression to be left behind at the schoolhouse door,” President Clinton explained at the time. In other words, completely the opposite of what MACRA and Kahle claimed.
“Nobody was forced,” area resident Lacie Henjal told WWTV-TV. “It was planned by students and parents; it was just a great show of support for the family.”
“(I)t was never advertised as a prayer event; it was a family circle coming to support Kyle, Harper, Linda, and Hudson,” another resident told that station, naming the parents and two young children affected by the tragic and life-threatening illness.
It’s worth pointing out that MACRA has been supporting high school sports players who kneel during the national anthem, and claiming that local schools “must allow them to protest (the national anthem) without interference or consequences.”
So disrespecting the American flag during the national anthem is fine. Joining hands and bowing your head to show support for a little girl struggling to stay alive? That’s too far.
Sadly, after considering the fact that fighting this battle would likely cost the small school district significant money in legal expenses, Lake City Superintendent Kimberly Blaszak begrudgingly decided to take down the video of the inspiring prayer circle, according to Fox News.
“If our personal preferences could have dictated the result in this situation, we may well have reached a different conclusion,” she wrote.
“But since our attorneys have advised us that in this situation we may not act on the basis of our personal preferences, we reluctantly opted to remove the posting.”
Even with the video taken down, the community continued to rally around little Harper. They created the hashtag #HarperStrong to raise awareness of the 4-year-old’s struggle, and a drive through Lake City shows pink “#HarperStrong” stickers on countless local businesses.
But angry atheists weren’t done. Even after they got their way by removing a powerful video meant to show community support for a girl on life support, the left continued to attack.
Now, the Freedom From Religion Foundation has jumped into the fray. They wrote a scathing letter to school officials, essentially threatening legal action if “family circles” where prayers are voluntarily offered for the four-year-old girl continue.
“We understand that on-field prayer circles with players, coaches, and community members occurred at recent games,” the letter from the atheist foundation declared, as if they had discovered someone committing a grave crime.
“In addition, we understand that Lake City football coaches join their teams in prayer prior to games,” the sanctimonious letter continued, before demanding that the “family circles” stop.
Remember, it’s the head coach’s own young daughter that community members are rallying and yes, often praying for. The left is now attacking a small town and its local coach for joining hands and praying for his own child.
The actions of those groups have sparked outrage among local citizens, many of which are not particularly religious but are deeply frustrated at the heartlessness and bullying tactics of these liberal groups.
“The Lake City area is a community full of Christians, Catholics, agnostics, those who abstain completely from religion and everything in between,” local business owner Tiffany Ziegler, who runs a shop in the town, told The Conservative Tribune, a brand of The Western Journal.
“The thing that brings us all together is compassion, understanding and basic human decency,” she explained. “We pull together in times like this to offer our support, love and even prayers to a family who is part of our community that we care about.”
“This is not about religion, but more so about being part of a caring community,” she continued.
It’s revealing that the same left which rants about “caring” for people and “tolerating” others doesn’t seem interested in doing either.
The First Amendment was meant to protect religious expression while also restraining the government.
It’s absolutely asinine to pretend that a circle of young players and community members showing their support for a very sick little girl infringes on anybody’s rights … and this shows just how cold-hearted the oh-so-caring left becomes the moment they see any hint of faith.
If you would like to help four-year-old Harper Smith and her family, you may send cards or donations to:
Devos Children’s Hospital, 100 Michigan St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 — ATTENTION: Harper Smith
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