Another Fake Tale of Christian ‘Persecution’

Todd Starnes has written the only kind of column of which he is capable, one with terrible tales of the persecution of Christians that are absurdly false. This time he’s all verklempt over a Florida school district that will no longer have a chaplain for their football team.

Troy Schmidt’s jaw dropped.

A few minutes before, he had been preparing to start his seventh year as chaplain for the Olympia High School football team in Florida. But now, those plans had been changed – radically changed.

“I received a call from the coach,” Schmidt told me. “He said Orange County Public Schools is no longer allowed to have chaplains as a part of the football program.”

Schmidt, who is a campus pastor of the First Baptist Church of Windermere, Florida, listened as the football coach explained the district’s decision to cleanse Christianity from its ranks.

“I could no longer open the Bible, talk about the Bible, talk about God or pray with the team in any capacity,” he told me. “It was heartbreaking.”

A spokesperson for Florida’s Orange County Public Schools confirmed they have ended the long-standing tradition of having local ministers serve as volunteer chaplains for football teams.

“They cannot have chaplains or ministers before or after games – leading prayer,” spokesperson Shari Bobinski told me. “Students are more than welcome to lead their own prayers but our faculty and staff cannot be involved nor can we bring in an outside chaplain.”

Oh, poor, poor Troy Schmidt! He can no longer use a government-appointed position to proselytize high school students. They might as well just nail him to a cross, amirite?

The Christian cleansing of Orange County Public Schools did not make national headlines. Their decision to banish the chaplains garnered no attention. And that’s why Pastor Schmidt decided to speak up.

“We can’t stay silent any longer,” he told me. “We can’t allow them to move into these areas that traditionally have always been a part of the football program.”

But that’s exactly what FFRF is attempting to do – eradicate Christianity in the public marketplace of ideas.

Oh yes, obviously so. I mean, if the government can’t force Christianity on students, that’s the same thing as Christianity being outlawed completely! Let’s try a little thought experiment. Let’s suppose that Dearborn Fordson high school, which is majority Muslim, had an imam that led the football team in prayer before and after a game and they were forced to stop. I’m sure Todd Starnes would be writing a column about this outrageous persecution and the attempt to eradicate Islam in the public marketplace of ideas, right? Of course not.

See, that’s the difference between those of us who are in favor of the separation of church and state and those Christians groups who oppose it. We oppose government endorsements of religion regardless of the religion. They’re in favor of government endorsement, but only if it’s Christian. It’s only “religious freedom” when it involves Christians.

"Let me know when you feel like actually talking to me rather than shouting at ..."

Crokin: Trump Was Sending a Message ..."
"Your strawperson is so poorly made, it looks like a pile of straw.We noted repeatedly ..."

Catholic School to Punish Students for ..."
"Mhm, she endorsed Trumpy and appeared at his rally. She didnt get much for it."

Palin’s Pointless Appeal
"Here's the thing: You're saying the same thing hundreds of other men -- and it's ..."

How to Think Critically About the ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chiroptera

    Remind me again why a high school team needs a chaplain? Does the community not have churches? Are all the away games on Sundays in communities without churches? Are the players confined in training camp 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

  • Michael Heath

    Ed concludes:

    . . . that’s the difference between those of us who are in favor of the separation of church and state and those Christians groups who oppose it. We oppose government endorsements of religion regardless of the religion. They’re in favor of government endorsement, but only if it’s Christian. It’s only “religious freedom” when it involves Christians.

    Well . . . that plus a lot of other differences, like the fact that the religious right is defined as being liars to the extent their positions rely on falsehoods. E.g. from Todd Starnes:

    . . . that’s exactly what FFRF is attempting to do – eradicate Christianity in the public marketplace of ideas.

  • Michael Heath

    Todd Starnes writes:

    Troy Schmidt’s jaw dropped.

    A few minutes before, he had been preparing to start his seventh year as chaplain for the Olympia High School football team in Florida.

    My jaw dropped as well. I had no idea that public schools anywhere had chaplains for their football team.

  • alanb

    A good article covering this issue is Why I’m Against Pre-Game Prayers by a conservative evangelical and which has, inexplicably, stayed up on the WND website for almost 9 years.

  • D. C. Sessions

    I mean, if the government can’t force Christianity on students, that’s the same thing as Christianity being outlawed completely!I mean, if the government can’t force Christianity on students, that’s the same thing as Christianity being outlawed completely!

    Ed, you may write this as sarcasm but the RR knows it for truth: if they can’t use governmental compulsion to enforce their religion, it will wither and die. Perhaps not this generation or next, but soon enough.

    Very much as with the slaveholding South in the 1850s: they knew that they had to expand the slave system into the western territories or watch it die in the South. The North (notably Lincoln) was willing to compromise by allowing the Southern aristocrats to keep their slaves in existing slave States but had the votes to prevent any further slave States from being added — and that threat alone, not outright abolition, was enough to drive the South to war.

    Likewise, the RR is bleeding headcount. They can’t even keep their own children in the congregation without more leverage, and the only leverage they know of is the State. If they can’t use its power to keep their own locked in and bring in replacements, they’re gone.

  • StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    This time he’s all verklempt over a Florida school district that will no longer have a chaplain for their football team.

    (Whispers) The horror! The horror!

  • peterh

    These xians are so adept at assuming the mantle of victimhood when actually they’re trying to be the perpetrators. Jeckyll & Hyde much?

  • Chiroptera

    peterh, #7:

    I also suspect that deep down they fear that if they are no longer the group on top, some other group will be on top. And then the Christianists will be treated exactly the way they’ve treated other groups. An understandable fear, although my solution to that is a bit different than the method the Christianists’.

  • matty1

    Here’s a suggestion, the parents who want a chaplain pay into a fund that hires one to visit one of their houses once a week, they invite any member of the team who wants to attend these meetings but keep attendance completely unconnected to games, team selection etc. This would cover their urge to ‘pray for’* the football team without involving the government or imposing on students who don’t want prayers.

    Why would this not work?

    * At best a questionable thing to pray about even from a Christian perspective

  • whheydt

    Re: D. C. Sessions @ #5…

    Southern slavery was doomed anyway. Asimov made a compelling argument that the South was going to wind up as either an economic colony of the North (if they lost) or of Britan (if they won). Since Britan banned slavery in the 1840s, and there was opposition to British support of the South during the Civil War (and, eventually, the British paid war reparations for acts like building commerce raiders, notably the _Alabama_) it’s pretty certain that, even if the South had won, British pressure would have led to abolition in relatively short order.

  • Taz

    The really sad thing is that these adults volunteer to be football team chaplain for the same reason wanna-be jocks who aren’t good enough volunteer to be equipment manager. They get to pretend to be a part of it all. Show me one minister who wants to be the debate team chaplain.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    NOW HOW WILL GOD KNOW WHICH TEAM TO CHEER FOR?!!!!

  • sigurd jorsalfar

    Starnes left out the part where the chaplain conceded that it’s not all bad news – he never looked that good in the tight shorts and pom-poms anyway.

  • Scientismist

    The Christian cleansing of Orange County Public Schools did not make national headlines.

    “We interrupt our regular programming to bring you this breaking news: A Florida school system has agreed to abide by the Constitution of the United States. Nation in shock!”

  • tsig

    We all know there are no atheists on the line so a football team needs a chaplain to keep those young minds firmly fixed on what is important.

  • John Pieret

    Modus is right!:

    NOW HOW WILL GOD KNOW WHICH TEAM TO CHEER FOR?!!!!

    Oh, wait! The other team has a Christian chaplain too! … Opps!

    When is the Muslim football team on the schedule?

  • Who Cares

    #D. C. Sessions(#5):

    Not to war, to secession. Something which (the soon to be) North grudgingly accepted as legal.

    It was only when a southern general shot up Fort Sumter on the fear it was being resupplied for extended combat duty that the war (of Southern aggression) started.

    That gave Lincoln the casus belli, propaganda and legal powers to violate the constitution he needed. Think the propaganda leading up to the Iraq war but with a real incident instead of hot air as a good example of how Lincoln managed to whip up the north in support.

  • captain_spleen

    Apparently Troy doesn’t think the football team is smart enough to find his church on Sundays, if they’re that desirous of his ministry.

    Or maybe he knows damn well they won’t show up and are mostly just going through the motions because the authority figures expect it of them.

  • jnorris

    Chiroptera (at #1), the churches are closed on Friday afternoons, high school football day, so the preachers can get to Happy Hour before the game.

  • hunter

    “It’s only “religious freedom” when it involves Christians.

    That’s because they follow the One True Religion (TM). All the others are the Devil’s work.

  • Kevin Kehres

    God always listens to the prayers of the team with the best players. Sorry, Southern Methodist University…god clearly listened to the prayers of Baylor. 45-0 route. That’s some pretty darn good god listening there.

  • http://festeringscabofrealityblogspot.com fifthdentist

    I see a way to keep the chaplain, but they’re not going to like it.

    After he says his prayer a Wiccan gets a shot, then a Catholic (if Troy Schmidt is a fundiegelical, which I suspect, but on the case he’s a Catholic he would be followed by a Protestant). Then we have the Santeria priest slaughter a chicken and smudge blood over the players’ heads to give them strength. Then a Muslim (well, two, one Shia and one Sunni). Then a Greek Orthodox. Russian Orthodox. There are a few Zoroastrianists left so better have one of them in. Hindu. Sikh. Native American …

    I’m getting the feeling game preparation could take a while. But on the chance that Krishna is the one true god the team is covered.

  • culuriel

    Who here thinks the kids are secretly relieved that they can just play football now?

  • steve78b

    “…. And we pray to our god,

    who we know is American,

    he protects us in war,

    and presides over football games…”

    from The Eagles “Long road out of eden” album…..