As CBS News Correspondent Randall Pinkston reports, the town is ground zero in the battle between church and statethe town that lost the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case banning school sponsored prayer.
In June, by a 6-3 vote, the Court ruled that public school districts cannot let students lead stadium crowds in prayer before high school football gamesspecifically, that allowing a student to deliver a Christian prayer over the loudspeaker before kickoff violates the constitutional requirement on separation of church and state.
Organizers had hoped the first football game of the season would be the site of a massive protest.
A Texas group, "No Pray, No Play," called for spectators in the stands to recite "The Lord's Prayer" right after the National Anthem.
While scattered groups did pray, their voices were drowned out by the stadium announcer. The number of protesters here fell far short of predictions, but organizers were still defiant.
"Wherever I am on Friday night watching the football game, I'll pray the Lord's prayer again, yes sir," said Rev. David Newsome.
Christian activists have also staged so-called spontaneous prayer recitals in the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas to protesting the prayer ban.
"This court not only crushed the First Amendment but showed an outright hostility to people of faith in America," said Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition.
This week, Christian groups deignated the first weekend in October as the date for a public prayer recital at high school football games across the country.
"I should have a right to pray anywhere I want to in the name of Jesus Christ," said one Santa Fe woman.
However, the protests are about more than religion.
With the presidential campaign about to enter high gear after Labor Day, Christian activists hope to make prayer and the Supreme Court a political issue.
"The next president will most likely nominate three Supreme Court justices to this court. We want to know where they stand on this issue," said Mahoney.
Texas Gov. and Republican nominee George W. Bush wrote a friend of the court letter in the Santa Fe case, siding with the school district and its prayer policy.
"We were not invited, though had we been invited we would have probably chose not to have any type of organized participation," said Msgr. Fank Rossi.
For non-Christians, the message of "No pray, no play" is troubling.
"I find them highly offensive. I find them very insensitive to myself as a rabbi, to Jews and, I'm sure, to other people who are not Christian," said Houston Rabbi Avi Schulman.
The case originated when two familiesone Catholic and one Mormonchallenged the Santa Fe policy. Their identities were sealed by the courts.
They sued the Santa Fe Independent School District in Galveston County, Texas, in 1995 over its policy of letting students elect a "chaplain" to lead "prayers" at graduation ceremonies and home football games.
Prayers over the football stadium's public address system were heard at all of Santa Fe High School's home football games last fall.
The Supreme Court's June ruling added to decisions in 1962 barring public school prayers in the classroom, and in 1992 barring prayers at graduation ceremonies.
Justice John Paul Steven said that because these invocations take place on government property at government-sponsored school-related events they breach the Constitution's wall separating church and state.
Writing for the majority, Stevens said: "The policy is invalid on its face because it establishes an improper majoritarian election on religion and unquestionably has the purpose and creates the perception of encouraging the delivery of prayer at a series of important school events."
Stevens said while the court recognizes "the important role that public worship plays in many communities Such religious activity in public schools, as elsewhere, must comport with the First Amendment."
Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented in a vigorous opinion by Rehnquist.
"Even more disturbing than its holding is the tone of the court's opinion: It bristles with hostility to all things religious in public life," Rehnquist said.