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When Disobedience is Acceptable In the year 2000 one can go to most any high school football game and observe a ritual that is becoming more and more widespread and symbolic in meaning to its participants Before the football game begins the Star Spangled Banner is played and sung the flag is raised and each schools band plays their Alma Mater But where in years past there would have been a stadium-wide prayer for the safety and happiness of players students and fans there is naught but silence During the few moments where a prayer would have been given one can see small groups of high school students trickling down out of the bleachers and onto the track where they come together in a circular huddle to make a statement An array of groups is represented one can see cheerleaders in their suits band members in their uniforms even students in their plainclothes melding together in this group to have their pre-game prayer Although the law has made it known that prayers before high school football games are unacceptable these students are taking a stand and making their opinions known through civil disobedience The issue of prayer at high school football games is but one of many issues today that calls individuals to civil disobedience But this concept of civil disobedience is not a solely modern one as long as there have been governments and laws and systems for individuals to control themselves and one another there has been civil disobedience Both Henry David Thoreau and Martin Luther King Jr were advocates of civil disobedience In their writings Civil Disobedience and Letter from Birmingham Jail they both approach civil disobedience as an honorable way of maintaining personal integrity and as an incendiary device to ignite the flames of revolution and change In Thoreaus time the abolition of slavery was a contemporary and hugely important issue Similarly in Kings time the battle raged against the
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