What a sad commentary on our times that the Supreme Court has to grapple with such transparent issues as public prayer before a high school football game ["Religion at School Revisited," news story, Nov. 16]. When the justices consider this case, they should weigh what purpose is served by the public prayer. They should ask to see the evidence that prayer influences the outcome of the game or that it prevents player injury. If public prayer is necessary "to promote good sportsmanship and student safety," as the proponents of prayer claim, what does that say about the players and spectators? Would not a secular public-service announcement accomplish the same end?

The high court should recognize all this for what it is--and is not. It is not a freedom of religion issue. People of faith can pray privately (as Jesus instructed) whenever they want--before, during and after a game. This is nothing more than a continuing effort by over-zealous Christians, in this case the praying majority in a small Texas town, trying to force their beliefs on a minority--those who went to the stadium to watch football, not a Youth for Christ rally.

J. A. STEINER

Bethesda