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.”
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.