Clemson Football Player Baptized… Why Is It Such a Big Deal?

Normally I do my best to ignore what is going on in the world of Clemson University athletics at least until November (go Gamecocks!), but this article managed to catch my eye yesterday. One of their football players, junior DeAndre Hopkins, was baptized in front of his teammates recently after practice. Their wide receivers’ coach and recruiting coordinator, Jeff Scott, tweeted this picture of the event:

Everyone in the photo, including Hopkins, appears to still be in uniform. The article mentions that this occurred after practice, but with everyone in uniforms, it seems as if the Clemson team itself endorses this baptism.

Clemson is a public university and, while there doesn’t seem to be any legal precedence against something like this, it still makes me uneasy. Sports players are generally expected to support their teammates in any way they can and I imagine it would be very uncomfortable for an atheist that plays for Clemson to speak out against anything like this.

Hopkins is welcome to be baptized and be a faithful member of the religious community, but I don’t think that this is the appropriate venue. A football team is not a Bible study.

Scott received a lot of praise on Twitter for his support of Hopkins:

Dirk Gadsen, president of the Secular Student Alliance at Clemson, had this to say:

The holding of a Christian baptism at a state-owned facility by what appears to be a state employee is an affront to the secular values on which this nation is founded. Through his actions, Jeff Scott — a coach at Clemson University — the Clemson football program, and Clemson University as a whole are effectively endorsing Christianity. As both a tuition-paying Clemson student and tax-paying resident of South Carolina, I find this action extremely insulting. This is disrespectful to both the non-Christian members of the Clemson community and the residents of this great state. The Secular Student Alliance of Clemson condemns this state-supported baptism as an affront to the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Scott is welcome to believe what he’d like, but he is acting as a representative of Clemson University. It was held at a practice field on Clemson’s campus, which is state-owned and operated.

If nothing else, why is the baptism itself newsworthy? What made it important enough to be picked up by USA Today?

About Kelley Freeman

Kelley is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina. She is a former president of the Secular Student Alliance at the University of South Carolina and a former intern for both SSA and Foundation Beyond Belief. Kelley is also a board member for both Camp Quest South Carolina and the Carolinas Secular Association, a Volunteer Network Coordinator for the southeastern region for the SSA, runs a vlog series called Secular Start Up, sometimes does stand up comedy and can crochet like a fiend. She's on her way to becoming a Jane of All Trades. Follow her on twitter @ramenneedles

  • A3Kr0n

    Gamecock?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503954172 Jeremy Mullins

      The University of South Carolina is the chief rival of Clemson University, and their mascot is the Gamecock.

    • ScarabDrowner

      A gamecock is a type of rooster.

      It is amusing, though, seeing Clemson banners and bumper stickers reading, “Go Cocks!”.

      • Olivia

        It’s Clemson University Tigers and University of South Carolina Gamecocks.

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

      Yep, a charming reference to the days when people used to bet on chickens killing each other with their spurs.

      • SeniorSkeptik

         They still have cockfights in Texas. Several spectators (and gamblers) were arrested this summer at events being held in the boonies.

        Hey, if there is no football, what else are people supposed to do in their spare time?

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      You’re not from around here (the US) are you?  The only religion in the US that gets more privilege than Christianity is college football.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger GodVlogger (on YouTube)

    Here’s my idea for a response to this:

    The Secular Student Alliance of Clemson could ask Clemson University for use of the very same facilities in order to hold a DE-BAPTISM!

    If Clemson University FAILS to provide this, then they would be a government institution (state school) showing preference for religion over non-religion, which would be a clear violation of the US Constitution.

    If Clemson University DOES provide the facilities, then it will get more press coverage than the baptism did, and will make the school think twice about hosting any baptism in the future.

    • Dirk Gadsden

      GodVlogger: De-baptisms are definitely being considered right now. Hair driers have already been volunteered. :)

      • Coyotenose

         I don’t know why that second line is making me laugh so much!

      • Albqforgood

        What is wrong with believing in God….any God of an individuals choice.   If someone doesn’t want to participate feel free to walk away just like we believers walk away from the non-believers handing out their propaganda.  We don’t say….you can’t do that….we leave them to their beliefs but just don’t participate. 

        • Olivia

          Albqforgood, you’re missing the point. It’s not about whether or not it is right or wrong to believe in a god. This is about using a secular institution (Clemson) that receives state funding (taxpayer dollars) to hold religious ceremonies (Christian baptism). 

          • TigerRagRay

            actually Clemson is a land grant university, meaning it receives less state money then lets say USC in columbia.  Clemson was donated to the state by Thomas Greene Clemson, with preconditions. While it is a secular school, it isnt strictly State run and funded.

            • http://www.youtube.com/user/GodVlogger GodVlogger (on YouTube)

               “Fonzie” is that you!?! Heeyyyyyy!

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            So with your argument, a group of people couldn’t go to an on-campus coffee shop and hold a Bible study. Good luck with that in court!

    • MegaZeusThor

      Good point.

      So, what’s up with U.S. money and motto (In God We Trust) then if  “showing preference for religion over non-religion, which would be a clear violation of the US Constitution”?

      • Gus Snarp

        Americans got caught up in the “Red Scare” in the fifties and sought to differentiate themselves from “Godless Communists” by putting god on the money and in the motto and pledge. It was all ruled acceptable by the courts as an act of “ceremonial deism”, that is, the use of the word “God” in all sorts of ceremonial and symbolic functions that does not imply an endorsement of real belief.

        I don’t agree with the courts’ logic on that and I think the correct action is to remove the pledge from schools all together, to remove god from our money, and to restore the original motto, E Pluribus Unum. But what the courts’ decisions on ceremonial deism do not do is make the use of government resources for religious activities that are not equally available for non religious purposes legal. They are not. Ceremonial deism, however stupid the idea, does not alter the broader and consistent interpretations of the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

        You’d think that religious people would have a problem with ceremonial deism. If it doesn’t have anything to do with real belief, then isn’t it taking God’s name in vain? And how would the Jesus of the Bible feel about putting God on money? The Jesus who went ballistic on the money changers at the temple. Who said to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” and “it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into Heaven” is supposed to approve of the ceremonial use of “God” on money with no implied religious belief attached? And that’s OK with evangelicals?

        • MegaZeusThor

          Interesting hearing about the “ceremonial deism”. 

          It’s funny how the religious might talk about the U.S. national motto in court and out. In the court, it’s meaningless; merely tradition or an appeal to the idea that there’s something greater in the world than us. (Does in GOD we trust refer to Jesus or his dad? Heavens no. It’s which ever God or idea you want it to be…)

          Outside of the court, it’s “We’re a Christian Nation. Look at out money, look at the national motto on the courthouse and in the classrooms.” (So I guess they don’t care about “ceremonial deism” because unless they’re trying to get their way in court, they don’t see it that way at all.)   

          • Gus Snarp

            Yeah, that’s it in a nutshell.

    • lisa

       you are an idiot, bet you voted for obama too

  • Erp

    It isn’t just atheists who should be upset.  I can well imagine Catholic, other non-Baptist Christians, and non-Christians (e.g., Muslims or Jews) would be upset especially if any members of their communities are on the football team (and this was the second football player baptized this season and recorded by the coach though the first might not have been a football team event or location  http://www.tigernet.com/view/clemson_update.do?id=6569).  These happened during a high pressure environment (the players were at the fall football camp preceding the start of classes though the second seems to have happened the first week of classes).   How much pressure was brought to bear in this environment on the players to come to God by their state employee coaches (or some of them)?  The first player, Sammy Watkins, had already been in trouble and suspended for two games before baptism; what was he needing to do to prove to the coaches he had reformed?

     I did some hunting

    First the university policy I found states
    http://etd.lib.clemson.edu/documents/1285788702/Xu_clemson_0050M_10850.pdf

    6.0 Use of Instructional Facilities for Religious Purposes. As a

    public entity, Clemson University is governed by State and Federal

    laws prohibiting both the establishment of any religion and

    discrimination against any individual or organization on the basis of

    religion. In accordance with these legal principles, Clemson

    University does not allow the use of its instructional facilities for

    any religious event or by any religious organization not officially

    recognized by the University. “Religious organizations” include

    traditional religious organizations of all denominations as well as

    any organization recognized as a charitable religious organization by

    the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, including organizations which

    advocate atheism.

    This restriction does not apply to any faculty or student organization

    recognized by the University and which organization has a religious

    affiliation. These organizations may use any University instructional

    facility in accordance with the terms and conditions of this policy.

    Publicly available facilities may be used by religious groups,

    including University recognized organizations, subject only to the

    terms of this policy and any additional restrictions particular to

    that facility.

    (though this could be out of date; I doubt the football team has a religious affiliation)

    Second the football coach in question, Jeff Scott, is also son of one the team’s previous associate head coach, Brad Scott, and a former player for the team so should be fairly well steeped in the team culture.

    • MisterSparkle

      Thank you for posting the university policy.  As a recent Clemson graduate, I just sent an email to President Barker and included reference to that provision.  I know they view me as a potential donor, so I’m hoping to get a response.

    • amycas

       That’s basically what I was trying to say above. A religious student organization hosting baptisms on campus is not a problem for me. A football team that has no religious affiliation and is supposed to be open to anybody of any faith or no faith, should not be holding baptisms.

    • Souloftheage

       This little event exposes Clemson to enormous lawsuits by any football player who was-or wasn’t there and can just say “I felt threatened and or intimidated by the very nature of this event since I do NOT share their beliefs”.  You don’t have to be a civil liberties lawyer to recognize this.
      And Clemson, a public university, can lose millions of federal dollars if they do not distance themselves from this….just amazingly stupid of these coaches….but that’s religious fervour for ya!!!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        No, no and NO! Nothing wrong happened here. As I stated above, the policy lists only instructional facilities. Tell me what class is taught on the practice field?

        • Glasofruix

          The field IS an instructionnal facility…

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Can you expand on that thought a bit more? I’m thinking that a class has to be taught there for it to be an instructional facility. Maybe I’m thinking about this definition incorrectly?

            • Glasofruix

              It’s on the school property, the school organises events and employs people to run those events = instructionnal facility.

            • Carolyn the Red

               My university has physical education and kinesiology programs that include introductions to a variety of sports (so they can better teach them), and hours as a student “therapist” or observing participants to better understand their possible aches and injuries. For them, any athletic facility is a lab space.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

      I also doubt that a football practice field is an “instructional facility”. An extra-curricular facility perhaps. Nice try though!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

      I also did some hunting. 

      http://www.clemson.edu/studentaffairs/campuslife/studentcenter/multimedia/pdf/facility-use-policy.pdf

      So my biggest question it this: Does the practice facility open up to the public use at any time? 

      If so, then by definition in article 2.2, the practice field would NOT be an instructional facility and from my interpretation 6.0 would not even come into play. 

      I’ve seen some colleges and universities swing either way on this question as far as public use or not. If it is not open to the public at any time (which is different from open all of the time) then I would interpret the facility to indeed be an instructional facility by their own definition. That would probably mean that 6.0 WOULD apply and then yes, the people involved in organizing this baptism would be in violation.

      I’ve never been on campus at Clemson to answer this public use question though. Maybe someone else has been or is motivated enough to contact their campus facilities people to find out. 

  • Gus Snarp

    Weird, I always thought church was the place to get baptized.  Or a river or lake if your church has a back to nature thing going on. Seems to me this is as insulting to even Baptists as it is to anyone else. Tells you something interesting about Southern culture. College football is a religion, after all.

    • Olivia

      That’s a very good point. Football > church even to Christians, apparently.

      • henrywinkler

        is this literally all you have to bitch about? why not talk about how barack obama is spending away our money? or about how joe biden is an incompetent vp. no. we bitch about an unofficial or sanctioned or denominationally aligned baptism after practice. if we bitched this much about the underage drinking that went on after practice and on the weekends i think our country would have our proverbial heads up our proverbial asses looking for an answer to our cultural and economic problems. gimme a break

  • ohnford610

    Dirk Gadsen You are right. This is of the1st. He has
    the right to get Baptized if he wants.)

    • amycas

       Yes, he has that right. However, he doesn’t have the right to use school facilities and resources to do so. And the coach, a state employee, doesn’t have the right to officiate or host such an event while in his official capacity as a state employee. If the student asked the coach to accompany him to church to witness his baptism, then there’s nothing wrong there. If a religious student organization, of which the coach is an adviser/supporter, organized the baptism and held it using their own funds/resources (or at least, only those resources to which every other student organization has access), then there wouldn’t be a problem.

  • C Peterson

    If this isn’t illegal, it’s certainly in very poor taste.

    In addition, it’s absurd and undignified. A fully clothed man sitting in a barnyard stock tank full of water, while a shaman waves his arms and a bunch of folks stand around gawking. Really? How anybody can see this and not be embarrassed for Christians and their batshit crazy beliefs is beyond me.

    • HenryWinkler

      The Guano or “Batshit” that you so unceremoniously attribute to Christianity and their beliefs is insulting and undermining to your own argument. You are probably one of those people who promote tolerance of non-Judeo-Christian religions (hinduism, islam, mormonism, scientology, bhuddism, or Atheism) or the Right to “marry” someone of the same sex yet you do not tolerate someone professing their committment to follow Jesus Christ though the physical act of Public Baptism.
      Shame on you.

      • Souloftheage

         NO, religion is pure delusion and nothing less.  Why is it that Scientology is for crazy fanatics and Catholicism an “accepted” justifiable religion?  You can’t tell me it’s because  there is more openness in the Catholic Church relative to Scientology, you can’t argue that Catholicism is a more fact based religion than Scientology…the fact is that more Americans practice Catholicism than Scientology and therefore it’s just accepted as NOT a cult.  BOTH are full delusional precepts and accepted “facts” when in fact both are “bat shit crazy” as ALL religions are.  To respect a persons delusions is not nice but  erodes the true common and fundamental values we all share as humans on this planet.  I speak as a person raised Catholic, but you can substitute any religion in place of the aforementioned two.

      • C Peterson

        I am tolerant of all religions to the extent that I completely support the right of people to practice those religions. They are all absurd, however, and some (like Christianity) are dangerous to society, as they encourage unethical behavior.

        I tolerate somebody professing their commitment to the deity of their choice; if they choose to do that in a stock tank, however, I’m certainly going to mock them for their crazy and absurd beliefs and actions. What this football player is doing is nuts.

        • J Mize

          If your tolerant of “all” religions then why is this a big deal? Y’all are presumming that the coach made all these players attend the baptism. Has anybody asked the players who attended if they wanted to be there? Why is it that people who choose not to believe in Christ get upset when something like this is done? That’s not being tolerant. If you want to mock them then that is your right. You expressed your opinion that Christianity is a danger to society and it encourages unethical behavior, your wrong. Christ teaches that we love one another and we don’t cause others to stumble and help each other out and take care of each other. How is that unethical? I will say this, there are those who claim to be Christians but act totally against what the Bible teaches. They are not Christians they serve their own beliefs and agendas.

          • C Peterson

            This is arguably an illegal entanglement between state and religion, and if such, needs to be challenged.

            I don’t care what Christians claim Jesus taught them, their actual behavior does not reflect consistently positive values. More to the point, the very core concepts of Christianity- absolute morality, sin, and forgiveness-by-proxy are key elements in creating unethical behavior in people. So I do consider Christianity to be a particularly great threat to society, even more than the general threat all religions represent by encouraging irrational thinking. I therefore seek to see it lose its power over people.

            Tolerating people’s right to practice religion does not mean I can’t challenge the absurdity of their views, nor seek to change those views.

            • J Mize

              I do not disagree with you about the behavior of people who claim Christianity yet their life is the opposite of what Jesus teaches. This is why people are against Christianity and church because of their hypocritical behavior. It seems like you are baseing your opinion on what you have seen and heard and not fact. Their are hypocrits in everything. It’s like this there are a lot of other countries that don’t like America and they base it on what little they have seen of us portrayed by the media or what they have been taught. I am not trying to convert you or anybody else into christianity but I would like for y’all to know the Truth.

              • C Peterson

                If every Christian completely took to heart the teachings of their gods, I’d still consider the religion to be fundamentally flawed, and to increase the risk of bad behavior. “Love” is not a good basis for morality; the notion that a person can be forgiven for trespasses by anybody other than the person they hurt is obscene and dangerous.

                I think I have the “truth” of Christianity fully in my grasp.

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                I find it amusing that anyone could think that anyone else in the USA would not have a grasp of the breadth of ‘Christianity’.  Most of our families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, communities are some kind of Christian.  We know there are Mega churches and living-room-come-prayer circles.  We know there are firebrand baptists and kubaya-singing UUs.  We know there are lesbian pastors and Leviticus 20:13 quoting ministers.  We know there are YECs like Ray Comfort and scientists like Ken Miller.

                Our objections are not due to lack of understanding of ‘the Truth’.  Our objections are to the notion of a ‘Truth’ that cannot be independently verified, and yet is still considered the ‘Truth’. 

      • Glasofruix

        All religions are batshit crazy beliefs and we have the absolute right to mock them and the people who blindly follow the baseless claims of magic skyfairy. I tolerate religious people as long as they practice their delusions in their privacy and don’t bother me with their bullshit or try to make laws that legally bind people to their misconceptions.

    • lisa

       You hate Christ, and like the demons inside of you it makes you crazy to see others become saved and to publicly acknowledge Him to be their savior, i pray for your salvation, all you have to do is speak  that you believe and he will forgive your sins and you can also enjoy being apart of this glorious family, these ball players will embrace you as will the rest of Gods family.

      • ElRay

        No, we don’t believe the mythology is real. Nor do we believe that Zeus, Zenu, Set, or any of the 2700+ other gods are real. They’re all in the same league as: invisible pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

  • http://bunnystuff.wordpress.com/ Jaimie

    Given that college is the time where many kids raised under the influence of fundamentalist regimes start branching out and even (gasp) begin thinking for themselves, this baptism reeks of desperation to me.   Why else would they have it publicly, in front of a sports team in full uniform instead of in a church where it belongs? 
    It’s garden variety religious propaganda. It makes it look like all the team members are good Christian guys so there must be a powerful religious influence at the school. Misinformation.

  • SJH

    I am not sure I understand the term “secular values”. Please clarify.

    • Gus Snarp

      From Webster’s Dictionary:

      Secular: a : of or relating to the worldly or temporal b : not overtly or specifically religiousc : not ecclesiastical or clerical

      So secular values can be values that are not overtly or specifically religious or are related to the worldly or temporal or not ecclesiastical. In this case, however, I think they are referring specifically to the value of secularism. Secularism is the notion that governments should deal exclusively with the secular, or the worldly, and leave the religion to churches. It is the notion that there should be no establishment of religion. It is the notion that inspired Jefferson to write that there is a wall of separation between Church and State, and Madison to include in the Treaty of Tripoli the statement that we are not a Christian nation.

      • clinteastwood

        hey gus. im just gonna cut the crap: i dont like you or respect your commentary. cus thats what i do, bee-atch.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          ???? Boo!

      • Souloftheage

         YOU are DA BOMB “Gus Sharp” and I dont mean that in the Homeland Security sense, in case they are monitoring this communiqué.
        I was an atheist until I read that reply and now Gus Sharp is my god, where do I pray….probably not in a bucket of water on a Clemson football field?

  • SJH

    Though I agree that it is an improper venue, I do not see how this is an endorsement. Was the entire team there? Were they required to stay? Public property and uniforms do not equal endorsement. If I were on the football team and prayed during practice would that be an endorsement? If I decided to pray with my teammates, is that an endorsement? If I decided to pray with my teammates and coaches, is that an endorsement? What if the Janitor got involved?  At what point does it cross the line and become an endorsement verses having a private organized prayer?

    • Gus Snarp

      It could be that the coach, a state employee, appears to have organized this as a fairly major team event and promoted it after the fact with the tweet and picture show above. The picture seems to indicate that a large portion of the the team and coaching staff was involved. For the head coach of a public university’s football team to host an event like this on the field, immediately after practice, is clearly an endorsement. Look at the picture, that is nothing like you praying on your own during practice. This is beyond a simple prayer, this is a church service held on the field. But given your previous comment, somehow I don’t think you’re actually looking for an answer, nor that you’ll be satisfied by one.

      • henrywinkler

        so now you are the authority when it comes to what is and isnt an endorsement? gimme a break gus. and go start your witch hunt up in salem, not down here.

        • Glasofruix

          There’s no deciding or guessing involved, a coach of a public university = state agent, him organizing a religious event on a public property = endorsement.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        It could also be that alien primates are going to come in from another planet and battle the ones that are coming out of your butt for supreme ruler of the world too. Stop speculating. 

  • nakedanthropologist

    Even if the legalities are iffy, this still seems highly unethical to me.  There’s a lot of peer pressure in sports, and as a general rule stepping out of line when it comes to team culture (like not staying for baptism or being supportive of the strong religiosity and/or religious overtones) usually comes with a price: less playing time, team members/coaches hostility, and even violence.  I haven’t seen any evidence yet of violence or hostility, but that seems to me to be an enviornment where it can be very easily created.  Hopefully the school will take investigative measures as a precaution, if nothing else.  And C. Peterson noted, it does seem to be in very poor taste.

    • henrywinkler

      the only thing in poor taste is your midless, insensitive, and hypocritic retoric

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

      Violence b/c a team member skipped on a teammates baptism? Ha ha ha! Seriously? What do you know about college athletics? What sport did you compete in? 

      I was on my University’s XC, track & field team. I was also a member of our 300+ marching band (which was like an athletic team). No such thing would happen? And there’s not as much peer pressure as you think. At least not that I’ve seen. I also coach 2 high school sports. The greatest subject that we have peer pressure about it a) not missing practice time b) Keeping grades up so they may participate. 

      Stop trying to make something up that doesn’t exist!

      • Glasofruix

        Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean that it does not exist, also you being among the bible thumpers i don’t think you’ll ever see religious bigotry even if it bit your nose off.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          You are correct, that because I haven’t seen it does not mean that it cannot exist. I’m tellin’ ya though, if it was present that wouldn’t be much of a team at all!

  • ALD

    As a non-Christian, I am in no way offended by the team’s actions. If a Christian wants to get baptized, he/she should do so. If other Christians would like to support the baptism, they should also do so. No where did the coach or school publish that the players were required to take part in the ceremony. The players chose to practice their beliefs in public– a choice that everyone should be allowed to make without judgement from others. Part of our country’s “secular values” include freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Forcing these players to hide their faith would be a violation against those very rights– don’t you think?

    • amycas

       They don’t have to hide their faith. Nobody is asking for that. They’re merely asking that baptisms and other religious rights of passage not be performed on school property and using school resources. If this had been a Christian student organization that paid for everything and set up the whole thing and it wasn’t directly connected to the school’s football team, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

      • Souloftheage

         Agreed.  “Hide their faith”?….this nation is primarily a Christian nation(sighed the atheist) but you’d NEVER know it, because the next thing this coach and team-mates are going to maintain is how Christians are “under attack” in the US….In the New Testament Jesus was constantly under attack by the Romans, Pharisees, Jews.  Nothing gives people like these Christians a bigger religious “hard on” than to compare themselves to Jesus and to be “under attack for believing in Jesus”….but in fact, they are part of the MAJORITY and NOT part of the minority….
        ATHEISTS are more under attack than these dim wits…

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          But even by having this post on here and having people complain about how they shouldn’t be doing this, is this not a form of attack. Not a very significant one relative to the attacks on Jesus, but attack just the same?

    • Stev84

       They can get baptized in a church. That’s what they’re there for.

    • Olivia

      This isn’t about religious oppression. No one is saying they should hide their faith. The point is that Clemson is a public university and should not be used for religious purposes. Clemson is in the Bible belt for goodness sake! Why couldn’t they find a church to do it in?

      • Souloftheage

        “Why couldn’t they find a church in the bible belt”?…well, that would defeat parading your religious fervour on your sleeve for all the world to see….”see, I am getting baptized in PUBLIC, therefore I am a good Christian”…..until I get arrested at the nearest strip club from campus as I sexually assault a woman…
        These people, like most religious people, are the lowest…they are NOT unlike the people Jesus sited for being UNpious_the Pharisees….all their “pious” religiosity paraded in full view for public consumption….it’s sickening…said the atheist.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          Wow. It sounds like you might be a bit ignorant on what baptism is meant for. It’s whole purpose is to be a “public” declaration of your faith. It’s not by any means taught in the Bible as a saving act like some churches like the Catholic church would teach. 

          If a baptism was done it private, then it would not have a purpose. 

          Why do you assume that he’s going to get arrested at a strip club? I got baptized in college and also was a college athlete. I’ve never set foot in a strip club. It’s really hard to take your post seriously at all!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=116400943 Leo Buzalsky

       You need to be careful with that word “required.” You understand how someone can be not *legally* required to do some thing, but can still face social consequences for not doing said thing, right?  Maybe you don’t, since you say “The players chose to practice their beliefs in public– a choice that
      everyone should be allowed to make without judgement from others.”  Well, in a perfect world, sure.  This just in: it’s not a perfect world!  There could very well be judgement, especially when you consider that this is in a very Christian part of the country.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        You mean like how unions cast their votes for president…by a show of hands!
        I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any locker room accusations about who was and who wasn’t there. Again, my section in the marching band had about 80% of us in the same Bible study.

         We didn’t corner anyone, pressure anyone into it and for sure didn’t judge anyone for not being there. That 20% might miss out on some of our inside jokes or might have missed out on a meal together or something, but that’s about it!

    • henrywinkler

      well said. Just because they were in uniform does not mean it was a team “sanctioned” or mandatory event. Even Christians can publicly practice their freedom to practice religion IN THE USA.

      • Souloftheage

         It’s a uniform paid for by the state taxpayers.   I could see if it happened at a private school that did not receive public money.  Then they could keep their jersey after too.   Would you be shocked to see the state sheriff getting baptized in his uniform or would you think otherwise…what if the sheriff was a member of the Church of Satan and wore his uniform there for a baptism for Satan?…I guess you would feel different? Now, what if it were the students, after practice, with the coach there dedicating their unending love to Satan??
        See, separation of Church and State is a great thing, wrote the atheist.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          The only way that I would “feel different” is that I would already know who I wasn’t voting for in the next sheriff’s election!

  • Guest

    Translation: religious people freely exercising their religion in a university that is happy to promote secularism in classroom settings on the tax payer dime is an affront on the parallel universe of alternate reality that is the wet dream of what atheists wish our country had been founded on…but are working diligently to accomplish. 

    • nakedanthropologist

      @Guest: please get back on your meds and try to comprehend this: no one here is criticizing the players’ faith or their practice of it.  However, many are questioning why this baptism had to be done after a state university football practice, by the coach, with the team, and on the university’s playing field.  If there is no coersion going on, great, fine.  However, if this ceremony was posited as a required event or there is pressure by a public official (i.e. the football coach) then it is suspicious and should be subject to inquiry by university officials.  I know you don’t like it when people think for themselves or even (gasp!) disagree with you or your religious ideals, but that’s how America and the freedom of speech works.  This baptism is a conspicuous event set in the public eye – therefore the public has the right to question it.  Now take your thorazine and chill out enough to notice that there are other ideas besides your quacky and delusional conspiracy “theories”.  Peace out.

    • amycas

       You don’t really have to promote secularism. A secular classroom is merely one which remains neutral on the question of religion. The only way to promote secularism would be to promote the idea that public universities should be open to all and no student should have to feel unwelcome in a classroom because a professor is promoting hir religion.

    • RobMcCune

      Please try don’t to go off on a tangent mid-sentence. This amorphous pile of words is an affront to language and thought. It’s very telling that your brain translates reality to this.

    • thorny264

      It’s kinda sad that me as an Englishman knows more about your constitution then you do, Maybe you should listen more in school. Also you used a double negative so as well as listening in history, listen in English/literacy class as well.

  • Boilermaster2

    Kelley, you’re an ass. Find another axe to grind. Nobody forced anyone to endorse anything. And as far as being unethical?? Maybe you should look the word up before you use it. I don’t think ethics are involved one way or another here. Go do you atheist things, whatever they are and keep your nose in your own business if you don’t like everything you see. It’s South Carolina and God is still respected here and you can’t do anything about that!

    • amycas

       Did you not see that this activity is against published school policy? Or are you just going to stick your head in the sand and assume this is somehow about “respect for god” and not about a state employee endorsing and using public resources to hold a religious right of passage?

    • Kelley Freeman

      Aww, you hurt my feelings so much. :(

      • clinteastwood

        i bet you voted for obama. its people like you kelly, who are simply ruining our country. Canada would be a nice place for you to visit or stay. just saying.

    • http://brutereason.net/ Miriam Mogilevsky

      You call someone an “ass” for calmly stating their valid, reasoned opinion, and then you insinuate that your god should be respected.

      Try respecting others first, and look up “irony” in the dictionary while you’re at it.

      • henrywinkler

        he didn’t insuate, bee-atch. he straight up told you that your “religion” (i call it a cult) is a sham and that there is only one GOD worthy of respect.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          Oh?  So how many GODs in total are there?

          • henrywinkler

            can you not read “one GOD”?  or are you that SLOW?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              there is only one GOD worthy of respect

              implies that there is some other kind of GOD, not worthy of respect.  If you’d said “GOD is worthy of respect”, then I would take it to mean you think there is only one GOD.  But the way you wrote it means that of all the GODs, one is worthy of respect, and the others are not.  I’m just curious as to how many of these GODs there are that are not worthy of respect.  And would they include the one who told a man to kill his own child?  ‘Cause I wouldn’t respect that one either if I actually thought he existed.

        • matt

          How do you know that its YOUR god that is worthy of this respect?  I’m pretty sure there are more Muslims in world then there are Christians. 

          What makes your holy book so special?  Especially since much of Christianity was borrow from previous religions.

    • Olivia

      Hahahahaha. You are so clueless that it is ALMOST amusing…except it’s really just pathetic. 

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      You know, they make a cream now for all that butthurt you seem to be suffering from. Check your local pharmacy.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Best post on this thread yet! 

  • Tobias 27

    I live 7 miles from Clemson 7 I love the tigers & Dabo Sweeney (the head coach) but if you think this is the only proselytizing going on in the Clemson football program you are not paying attention.  Anyone inside the program willing to speak honestly would tell you plenty of tales of the football staff crossing the wall of separation.  I’d bet money on it.

    Hey Kelley – Go tigers !!

  • AnonymousAtheist

    I can only assume that everyone in the picture was a willing participant in witnessing the baptism. I, as an atheist, am not offended by this at all and I think that your argument that Clemson endorses this act is unfair. We see Shandon Ministries walking around campus wearing “Shandon at USC” shirts, but that does not mean that USC endorses them. The Clemson athletes were not in violation of the First Amendment because, as I mentioned earlier, I am sure they were all willing participants. Complaints like this just seem to be an attempt to remove all aspects of religion in this country. Just as the religious cannot tell us what to believe, we cannot tell them what not to believe.

    • Souloftheage

      Dear fellow atheist.  I believe you’re wrong.  The uniforms, coaches, fields are ALL Clemson’s -which is a PUBLIC university.   A football player has to just say that it made them feel ill at ease and that they could not fully participate and that might possibly trigger the jeopardy of millions of dollars of federal money that Clemson gets.  I am surprised that so many people do not see this. Shandon at USC” shirts are not paid for by the state and federal taxpayers.  Further, this preacher doesn’t determine who will and who won’t play from week to week….the coach is in a position of determining just that and a player could maintain that he felt pressured to be there or he would lose the opportunity to play.
      I am not from South Carolina, but the  state’s reputation as one of the loudest bible thumping ones(indeed probably the loudest) in the south is well known even to us Yankees.
      No one is telling the coaches or players do not get baptized or pray or whatever your religious values say you must do-just don’t do them in a school setting, in school uniforms…it puts a completely different perspective on the event.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        If a football player feels “ill at ease” and isn’t man enough to step up then he probably won’t stay on the team very long!

  • Cocky Mike

    More dabo sweenie bullshot public relations, attention grabbing scams. He prays on the weak with his so called beliefs.

  • Chadwickperry

    I will pray for you.

  • Erp

    This does seem to be about par for Clemson football.  The team use to have a chaplain, Tony Eubanks, who claims to have been mentoring 104 of the 105 players in 2009.  http://www.chaplainsconnect.org/chaplains/collegiate/south-carolina/tony-eubanks/

    One has to wonder about the guts of that 105th player .   I can’t find info on a current chaplain.

  • Pastor N SC

    Had this Baptism been preformed  the way it is being reported, (At Hopkins request) I would see nothing wrong with it. Although it still should have been done privately, & not filmed for the world to see.  But given the fact that Dabo Swinney & his staff are known to use Religion  as a recruiting tool, it should be clear to everyone that this entire thing was set up by Swinney & Scott to be used for that very purpose.

     I’m sure there will be many Clemson fans that will rush to their defense over this, but for anyone who thinks Swinney is a devout Christian man as he advertises himself to be,  just watch him on the side lines during a game when a call doesn’t go in Clemson’s favor.  Try reading his lips.  It should become clear that the words coming from his mouth are not the kind of language you would expect from someone who constantly advertises theirself as a devout Christian.  It’s all about helping Clemson win the recruiting battle with kids & their parents people.  Bowden did it for years, & now Swinney saw how well it worked for him & took up where he left off.    Hypocrisy defined!

    • Souloftheage

       ……but Jesus loves a fighter!!!…in football and otherwise, doesn’t he?….that is in total sarcasm.

    • clinteastwood

      and all professing christians are perfect? just because you title yourself anonymously as a pastor from N SC on this post doesn’t give you any authority on this subject. hypocrisy is defined by pointing out the speck in some one elses eye while ignoreing the plank in one’s one eye. so i’d worry about your own plank instead of criticising someone whose life is under such heavy criticism and public attention everyday. no offense “pastor” but we are all hypocrits in our own way and you just proved it. Shame on you.

  • Christian

    These atheists do a tremendous job here of showing how absolutely absurd the RELIGION, let me state that word again – the RELIGION of atheism is.  I rarely find any movement or philosophy to have people who are more religious minded than atheism.  Us Christians could really take a lesson from these folks about being passionate about our beliefs (and yes, atheism is a system of beliefs).  You folks are so adamant about taking away the rights of others and you fail to understand that this is America – the home of the free.  You also fail to realize that this is America – founded and built on the principles and teachings of the Bible, founded and built on belief in God (it’s a historical fact and there is nothing you can do about that truth no matter how much you want to revise history).  I am proud to say that I live in the state of South Carolina.  I drive a vehicle with a state license tag that reads “in God we trust” (because He is the One we trust in except for you few who choose to live in the dark and in your ignorance of reality).  Our license tags read “in God we trust,” our money reads “in God we Trust,” we are still going to sing “God bless America,” our kids in our state funded schools are going to keep saying “One nation under God,” people are still going to be presented with a Bible in our county, city, state, and federal courts and asked to place their hands on that Bible when they are put under oath and are going to continue to be asked if they will tell the truth “so help you GOD.”  Yes, this is America, that is the way it is, that is the way it should be, and that is how it is going to continue being.  Get over it with your circular, insignificant, and ludicrous arguments in your misguided religion (although  you do have the right to your religion).  With the ignorant comments made by some of these atheists, it is as if they think only atheists pay any tax dollars.  If you want to take the tiny portion of tax dollars that non-believers contribute to this country, then you can find a tiny corner of America to continue living your fairy tale of atheism in your false sense of reality and your desire to trample on the rights of others.   But, guess what, God will still be there whether you like it or not.  By the way, “PRAISE GOD, PRAISE JESUS CHRIST, HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE” (I just typed this on a state funded computer at the University of South Carolina and I thank the Lord for making it possible).  

    • henrywinkler

      Henry Winkler SOOOO agrees. you dirty atheists need to clean up your left wing act and start evangelizing. cus you guys are the BATSHIT CRAZY PEOPLE.

    • Souloftheage

       Good GOD(said as an exclamatory , NOT as an expression of belief) you’re a raging idiot….soon, you’ll be alone to yourself surrounded by only your God loving religious friends: the Jews, Muslims and Catholics… and I know you’re going to LOVE that!

    • matt

      How are you so sure that out of the thousands of religions that exist on this planet that yours is truly the right one?  How many others have you researched before you chose Christianity?  Or did you just grow up believing in this one….

      Please take a look at some of the religions prior to Christianity and note how much of Christianity was borrowed from them – Virgin births, resurrections after 3 days, savior birth dates on the winter solstice, etc..

      And I still don’t understand why you folks think god would be a “HE” for some reason.   Don’t you find that a bit suspicious considering all the obvious misogyny thats in the bible?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Farris-Steele/1493160360 Farris Steele

    I’m not claiming to have the answers to these questions, but I do think that a journalistic follow through would be necessary before claiming “It was held at a practice field on Clemson’s campus, which is state-owned and operated.” 
    Are the practice fields funded by tuition and taxes, are are they independently funded by the AD (private gifts & athletic revenue)? I’d like to see where the money is coming from. Does anyone have a breakdown on this? Sources you can refer me to? I did a cursory internet search and couldn’t find exactly what I needed. I would appreciate it if anyone can get some answers on this.

    • Erp

       Actually religious rituals can be held by students at Clemson, and, I have no problem with that.   A baptism that was clearly separate from the football team (e.g., no uniforms and not during or straight after practice) under the aegis of a student religious group even if held on Clemson land would have been fine.   It is when University employees as University employees and therefore representing the state appear to be endorsing a particular religion that problems arise.

       Note donations to the university become the property of the state though set aside for a specific purpose; the football coaches are state employees; the athletic director is a state employee (google Clemson and “state employees”).  The NCAA certainly holds the university responsible for its athletic program.    The university policy even states “As a public entity, Clemson University is governed by State and Federal laws prohibiting both the establishment of any religion and discrimination against any individual or organization on the basis of religion.”     So was the football coach, a state employee, using his authority as football coach to strongly encourage the players  to come to Jesus.  In addition was he using State property to enable, film and broadcast the ritual and his endorsement of it.   I can’t quite see him doing the same thing for a player becoming a Muslim or a Mormon.  

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Farris-Steele/1493160360 Farris Steele

        I’m still not seeing any sources. 

        What I’m saying is, I don’t know exactly how the Athletic Department is funded but I’m pretty certain it is a separate entity from “Clemson University.” 

        I am on your page if this had happened at Tillman, or say another academic building, with a professor – however, I have questions about who is actually paying for their fields, these coaches, etc. If the AD is in fact a separate entity, then private gifts are not the state’s money. Again, I would agree with you had this been on academic turf, but it wasn’t. 

        I’ve always understood Clemson’s AD to be a wholly separate creature… hence when they do things like build multi-million dollar training facilities, I don’t get burnt thinking about what state of the art laboratories we could have built or what fantastic professors we could have hired or how that’s actually my money (whether tuition or taxes). For everyone that is claiming the state and their tuition and their taxes are paying for the fields and the coaches, I want to see a source.

        • Erp

          http://www.clemson.edu/administration/bot/manual/appendixh.html

          The athletic directory reports directly to the President of the University (and the football coach reports to the athletic director though that isn’t listed in this chart).   The athletic department may raise its own funds but as it is a state organization those funds become state funds though earmarked for a particular purpose.   Note that the financial status of the Athletic Department is included in the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Clemson University (I’ve just been looking over the 2008 one).  The Athletic Department as a whole had net revenues of 6.7 million but 2.4 million were “Direct institutional support’ and another $1.5 million were student fees.  Football is the big money earner that year (helped by high rankings). 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

    With the author’s weak argument against this taking place, baptism could happen no where but in the church. After all, aren’t our homes owned by the state? Even after one pays off their mortgage don’t we continue to pay taxes on it’s ownership each year (which I’ve always found odd).

    A football team could very well become a Bible study if they wanted to. My trombone section in the marching band at my university became a Bible Study. We did it at off times, but *gasp* we sometimes met on campus, a state ran institution. There’s no rules stating that we cannot meet in the student union right? In fact the law provides us the opportunity to do just that. All we were missing was our uniforms, ha ha!

    • Glasofruix

      Oh hello again, did you miss the fact that this whole mumbojumbo was against the school’s official policy? Or the fact that it appears as an official endorsement of christian religion by the government which is clearly forbidden by your constitution?

    • Gus Snarp

      Are you really that mind numbingly ignorant, or do you actually work hard at believing the absurd things you wrote?

      The state does not own your house just because you pay property taxes. The state does own the roads that get you to your house, the right of way where the power and phone lines are installed, the parks, schools, snowplows, and other amenities that the vast majority of Americans for a very long time have felt were worth the tax dollars that support them.

      Of course there’s nothing wrong with your description of what the trombone section did, but I find it hard to believe that you do not see the difference between what’s shown in the picture above, a service on the field, in uniform, immediately following practice, organized and promoted by the coach and a group of trombone playing students getting together to talk about god in the student union. If you really can’t see the difference, see my first sentence above.

      • Glasofruix

        Are you really that mind numbingly ignorant, or do you actually work hard at believing the absurd things you wrote?

        If you read this troll’s previous comments it’s both actually…

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          Once again, labeled a troll because I don’t think like you. Call it whatever you want to Glas, but that doesn’t mean I have to think like you all the time does it? I’m sure you’re a great person, but try not to get so mad because a different thought other than your own exists alright?

          • Glasofruix

            I’m ok with different thought’s than my own, but only with structured ones, not the haysack of bullshit yours seems to follow…

      • TheManagement

        If you aspire to gain reader’s respect, maybe you should respect God with a capital G when you spell it.

        Thanks,

        The Management

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
        • Glasofruix

          Why should we give a flying fuck about how we spell the skyfairy’s title?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

             I think you just made his point :/

        • matt

           For some reason,  I doubt that the supposed creator of the multiverse really gives a shit about capitalization.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Then explain why I’m paying property taxes again and what happens to my home if I fail to pay them.

        • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

          So, if I sell my house, the government gets the proceeds?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Not the proceeds, but doesn’t the buyer pay taxes on the purchase price, even if a house has been purchased 10 separate times already? How many ways can a car and house get taxed? 

            And again, since Glas can’t seem to answer a straight question and I know you can as I respect your posts a bit more: What happens to our house/car if we have paid them off, but don’t pay the taxes on them?

            • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

              You don’t pay tax on a car after the original purchase.  At least I don’t in California.  I pay a registration fee to keep it legal for driving on public roads.  If I want to park it on my lawn, or drive it around in a field, I don’t need to keep paying to have it registered.

              As for property taxes, we both know a tax sale is simply a way for the government to recoup what is owed to pay for services (police/fire/roads/schools etc).  It’s generally preferable to putting you in debtors prison, which costs rather than recoups money.

              It’s kinda sorta a little like saying that because the government can toss you in jail for committing a major crime that you’re a slave.

              I don’t have the comment in front of me that started this silliness, but weren’t we talking about public vs. private property?  Wouldn’t a better line of argument be that since you can’t run a meth lab in your garage that your house isn’t really yours?

        • Glasofruix

          Wait wait, you DON’T know why you’re paying taxes? Oh my…

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Glas, you’re a sloppy poster. Answer the question. If my mortgage is paid off and I don’t pay my yearly tax, what happens to my house? For argument’s sake let’s ask the same question about my car too?

            If the punishment eventually leads to to seizure of something that you’ve purchased, then you never really own it outright do you?

            I understand where the property tax goes. What I want to hear from you is to answer the question. I didn’t ask “where does my property tax go?”

            • Glasofruix

              You’ll get a fine, but nobody’s going to seize your house just for that…

              • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

                Actually if you continue to not pay your property taxes, eventually your property will be seized and sold.  But you have to try really hard.  It’s usually at the point that you have abandoned the property.

                If you leave your bicycle locked somewhere long enough, eventually someone will come a long and put a sticker on it saying it has been considered abandoned.  And after that someone will come and take it and auction it off.

                • Glasofruix

                  Hence the “just for that” part of my answer ;) Anyway, if you’re neck deep in debt it’s only logical that parts of your property would be used to pay it off.

  • Gus Snarp

    Wow. Where did all these trolls come from? This is starting to read like YouTube comments. If this is because the Clemson community found the story and came to crash the comments it’s a sad commentary on the level of education currently on offer at that storied university.

    • clinteastwood

      have you read your own commentary? the intellectual prowess you possess when writing is reminiscent of ancient cave drawings. That is how unsophisticated you sound. so i’d be careful when you proclaim “trolling,” when your own commentary is complete rubbish.


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