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Taft Midway Driller - Taft, CA
  • School prayer protest draws counterprotest

  • When man holds sign protesting school prayer in front of schools, others come out to take the other side.
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  • When Becky Sharp heard that her daughter had to pass a man protesting against prayer in schools on the first day of classes, she felt she had to do something.
    She went out with her own sign against Brian McIlroy, quoting a Bible verse.
    McIlroy carried a sign "Keep prayer and 'god' out of school. It's the law! Religion has no place in school."
    Becky Sharp said she dropped her daughter off near Taft Union High School and found out the girl had to walk past McIlroy and his sign.
    That was enough to motivate her to come out with her own sign quoting scripture.
    "For where two or three are gathered in my (Jesus') name I am there also," her sign read, quoting Matthew 18:20.
    McIlroy was at Sixth and Warren before school, then later moved to Sixth at Emmons Park Drive, next to a crosswalk in front of the Taft City School District's Education Center where students cross from Roosevelt and the Lincoln annex to the Lincoln main campus.
    Chief of Police Ed Whiting monitored the pair for a time.He said there were not problems, but did say McIlroy cussed at Sharp when she showed up.
    McIlroy said he was motivated to protest when he saw news reports about prayers for schools Sunday.
    "I'm doing this because I saw on the news a report about prayer in the school and all that," he said. "I'm pretty upset because people are trying to take away the rights of other people. I'm just trying to stand up and and see that all people are protected."
    Sharp declined to give her name to a reporter, but said just hearing that her daughter had to walk past McIlroy and his sign was enough to motivate her to counter protest.
    "I'm not trying to be in the paper. I's just trying to stand up for what I believe in," she said.
    Sharp wasn't alone for long. She was soon by a handful of fellow Christians who joined her. They continued to sit in front of the Education Center, waving signs at passing motorists even after McIlroy left.
    They said they were getting a lot of friendly honks and waves from passing motorists, includin g school buses, transit buses and police officers.

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