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Atheists Accuse High School Football Coaches of ‘Unconstitutional Activity’ Over Team Prayer and Scripture

Posted by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM
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Atheists Accuse High School Football Coaches of ‘Unconstitutional Activity’ Over Team Prayer and Scripture

A high school football team is under fire from atheists who say that prayer and Bible scriptures reportedly being shared with players and plastered on official team stationary violate the separation of church and state.

Chestatee High School, a public institution in Gainesville, Georgia, caught the ire of the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, a secular legal firm, after activists said they learned of specific religious activities being undertaken by officials.

“We have been informed that the school’s football coaches have been using their position to promote Christianity on the football team by integrating Bible verses into functional team documents and team promotions in various ways,” read a letter sent to officials at Hall County School District. “Meanwhile, they have been either leading the team in prayer or participating in team prayers on a regular basis.”

Image source: American Humanist Association

A picture that reportedly shows team prayer (Image source: American Humanist Association)

According to the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the participation in these activities by public school football coaches amounts to a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Photos attached to the complaint letter seemingly shed light on some of the group’s First Amendment grievances. In one picture, football players are in a circle holding hands and engaging in what appears to be prayer.

And in another picture a team workout sheet references Galatians 6:9; there is also another photo of what appears to be a team banner, complete with a reference to Proverbs 21:17.

Image source: American Humanist Association

Image source: American Humanist Association

The Appignani Humanist Legal Center letter asked that football coaches cease the “unconstitutional activity” immediately, noting that a lawsuit could be filed against the district for violating the Establishment Clause.

But Monica Miller, an attorney with the group, said she expects the district to comply with the atheist legal firm’s demands.

“I think it would be very unusual in this circumstance for them to refuse to comply,” Miller told the Gainesville Times.

A spokesperson for Hall County School District also told the outlet that officials are taking the matter seriously and exploring whether the atheist group’s accusations hold merit.

Image source: American Humanist Association

Image source: American Humanist Association

And superintendent Will Schofield also spoke out, telling the Times that personnel should not be leading prayer, but that students’ right to invoke God should and will be protected.

“Certainly adults shouldn’t be leading children in prayers to any particular religion, but one thing we will stand behind is our students’ right to prayer,” he said.

The district said that it will take action if it is determined that a violation unfolded.

by on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM
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Replies (1-10):
idunno1234
by Silver Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM
5 moms liked this

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.

candlegal
by Bronze Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:21 AM
9 moms liked this
and yet here are the athiests all over these boards talking about Christians having their panties in a bunch.
Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM
4 moms liked this

 

What if the prayer is simply a wish for good sportsmanship, camaraderie and a hope that no one gets hurt?

Quoting idunno1234:

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.

 

idunno1234
by Silver Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:30 AM
2 moms liked this

Not sure why one would need to pray to an entity for that but okay. 

Quoting Billiejeens:

 

What if the prayer is simply a wish for good sportsmanship, camaraderie and a hope that no one gets hurt?

Quoting idunno1234:

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.

 

 

idunno1234
by Silver Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM
6 moms liked this

 If they were quotes from the Koran and they were saying Allah instead of God, I'm sure you would be fine with that if you had a child who was on the team, right?

Quoting candlegal: and yet here are the athiests all over these boards talking about Christians having their panties in a bunch.

 

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM
There was almost an identical issue in my town when my daughter was football manager. They had a team dinner every Friday before the game, the cheerleaders would participate as well as the team. The players would do a circle and pray and the coach would join by taking a knee. Some of the cheerleaders were Jewish and uncomfortable with the Christian prayer with the coach involved, even though he wasn't leading it. They complained to the superintendent, who asked the coach to refrain from joining. The coach refused. There was a lawsuit over the issue and the coach lost. He resigned his position over the matter.

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM
2 moms liked this

 The question is, why would atheists feel a need to stop that?

That is what most sports prayers consist of.

Quoting idunno1234:

Not sure why one would need to pray to an entity for that but okay. 

Quoting Billiejeens:

 

What if the prayer is simply a wish for good sportsmanship, camaraderie and a hope that no one gets hurt?

Quoting idunno1234:

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.

 

 

 

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM
5 moms liked this
It's illegal. You don't have to like that it's illegal, but it is.

Quoting candlegal: and yet here are the athiests all over these boards talking about Christians having their panties in a bunch.
romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:35 AM
What you say is untrue.

It is also illegal.


Quoting Billiejeens:

 The question is, why would atheists feel a need to stop that?


That is what most sports prayers consist of.


Quoting idunno1234:

Not sure why one would need to pray to an entity for that but okay. 


Quoting Billiejeens:

 


What if the prayer is simply a wish for good sportsmanship, camaraderie and a hope that no one gets hurt?


Quoting idunno1234:

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.


 


 


 

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Aug. 13, 2014 at 10:38 AM
1 mom liked this

 Atheists are the least welcomed and least trusted group in the country.

People will point out an atheist before they will point out a pedophile.

Interesting, yes?

Quoting romalove: What you say is untrue. It is also illegal.
Quoting Billiejeens:

 The question is, why would atheists feel a need to stop that?

That is what most sports prayers consist of.

Quoting idunno1234:

Not sure why one would need to pray to an entity for that but okay. 

Quoting Billiejeens:

 

What if the prayer is simply a wish for good sportsmanship, camaraderie and a hope that no one gets hurt?

Quoting idunno1234:

I seriously never understood teams praying before a sporting event anyway....as if God would be involved in such nonsense as picking who the winner should be based on whether or not they prayed.

 

 

 

 

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