Alabama Public School District Plans ‘Prayer Caravan’ to Bless Schools for the Upcoming Year

Here’s how you know your school district is led by an incompetent individual: Instead of doing something to help the students, he makes plans to lead prayers in front of every school.

That’s what Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman decided to do last week:

Superintendent Billy Coleman

It will be a time to lift out schools up to God and ask His blessings for the upcoming school year. We hope to see you on August 10th.

In Christ, Billy Coleman

It was apparently the third year of this “Prayer Caravan.”

Hours after the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Andrew Seidel sent Coleman a letter (PDF) telling him to put a stop to this nonsense, the district removed all references to the prayers from their website and Facebook pages.

And it turns out that wasn’t even the worst thing the district was doing:

We were also informed that schools in the Cullman County system recite the Lord’s Prayer over the loudspeaker each morning. We understand that an attempt to mask this illegal practice is made by giving students “the option” to participate.

Of course, it’s not really “optional” when the prayers come over the loudspeakers…

Coleman hasn’t issued an apology yet or said publicly that the prayer event and morning prayers will be cancelled permanently.

Until he does, he’s violating the law.

What’s more: It’s hard to believe he’s unaware of what the law says. He’s probably spent years trying to create these “loopholes” in order to push his faith onto the students. That’s why the Prayer Caravan is on a Saturday in the summer — because he thinks it doesn’t count as praying during the school year. That’s why the Lord’s Prayer was deemed “optional” — because he thought that would circumvent the Supreme Court precedent against mandatory school prayers.

Well, he’s been wrong this whole time. The loopholes don’t work like that. If he doesn’t fix the situation, the school’s likely to face a costly lawsuit — another move that will end up hurting the students.

Coleman needs to apologize, resign, and find work at some local church, since that’s obviously where he wants to be.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.