According to a spokesperson who was quoted in the local paper, I was welcome. You don't have to be an athlete to come to this. Well, duh... it's not an athletic event, it just rents an athletic field so it can have a cool name. It could just as well be a tent meeting.
They make sure that students run it, so they can split that hair and stay out of legal trouble too, though adults (including coaches) can help push this thing.
•The FCA has the right to access an athletic stadium, field, and/or gym for Fields of Faith just like other community organizations.
•Coaches and teachers have the right to participate in Fields of Faith as private individuals.
•Coaches and teachers have the right to actively participate in Fields of Faith if it is characterized as a community event and not a student group meeting. This includes praying, reading the Word of God, and freely expressing their religious beliefs.
•Students have the right to pray, to read the Word of God, and to freely express their religious beliefs at Fields of Faith.
•An outside speaker has the right to lead prayer, share the Word of God, freely express his/her faith, and give an invitation.
•Students have the right to distribute Fields of Faith brochures and posters to other students on the same terms as they are permitted to distribute other literature of community organizations.
•Students have the right to wear clothing and accessories advertising Fields of Faith if clothing is permitted to contain other types of speech.
•Students have the right to use religious words on the advertisements for Fields of Faith
uhhh So you can call it a "community" event because why? Because there isn't one specific church that's sponsoring it? From their webpage on "partners:"
We desire to see athletic fields covered on one night with students challenging each other to read the Word of God and come to faith in Jesus Christ. We embrace this ministry purpose. We believe that partnering together with other ministries and churches can only strengthen the impact in communities across the country for Jesus Christ. As Kingdom-minded co-laborers, we realize that we can not do it alone, but together we commit to the following agreements:
"Kingdom" minded? Uhhh we're a democracy, not a monarchy. Is this some dominionist code? They repeat it again: "We agree to help students become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ through active involvement with a local church. We are Kingdom-minded, which serves the purpose of the Church."
I really can't wrap my mind around this doublespeak. WTF is "Kingdom-minded?" How can something be community based and student led but yet partner with a bunch of churches with the goal of getting kids to join these churches?
The part I found particularly chilling:
Fields of Faith follows the method used by King Josiah. Most modern rallies are built around entertainment with professional speakers and this tends to create a separation. Fields of Faith highlights local students in the program creating a powerful connection. The success of this event is rooted in its simplicity:
•Bring many people together at one time.
•Read Scripture and share personal testimonies.
•Be challenged by fellow students to read the Word of God and to follow Jesus Christ
In case there's any doubt, they explicitly state on the "overview" page: Students invite their own classmates and teammates to meet on their school’s athletic field to hear fellow students share their faith testimonies, challenge them to read the Bible and to come to faith in Jesus Christ
This sounds like peer pressure to me. What a rotten thing to do. We had a small group in my high school. Out of like 4,000 students there were at most about 50 in the "God Squad." One of them invited me to a house meeting and it was the most laughably stupid thing I've ever seen. Apparently they've sharpened their tools and now they have "faith bands" and their own rap stars.
Student athlete doesn't really have an option to resist this pressure. I look at it like the military prosletyzing. Can a soldier really decide to be the only member of a unit not to participate in prayer and still be part of the unit? Can a college football player really be a concientous objector when the prayer starts? If you were a football player at the University of Georgia, how comfortable would you feel saying thanks but no thanks to this?