Last month, we learned that Cullman County Schools (Alabama) Superintendent Billy Coleman was planning his third annual “Prayer Caravan” in which he visited the schools in his district and prayed for them.
There’s only one important question for us here: Was the Prayer Caravan illegal? If a bunch of private citizens wanted to pray, they have every right to do that. However, the moment Coleman used school resources and his official title to promote the event, he crossed the line.
An announcement of the Caravan was posted on the school’s website:
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 posted on the district’s Facebook page, too.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation objected specifically to those postings, sending Coleman a letter telling him to stop the proselytizing as a district official (though he was welcome to do it on his own). After that, the district removed all references to the Caravan from their website and social media outlets.
Just to be clear: FFRF’s only objection to this event was that it gave off the impression of being supported by the district.
But Alabama House Republicans — the bright bunch at they are — don’t care about the facts. They’ve launched a petition they intend to send to FFRF headquarters in Wisconsin in which they voice their opposition to the group’s non-existent “War on Prayer.”
Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard writes in the petition:
Organizers of the event were immediately met with threats of legal action from the radically liberal, out-of-state “Freedom from Religion Foundation”, who are attempting to draw attention to their agenda by demanding the end of public prayer in Alabama.
This has not been the only attack of its kind Alabama has seen in recent months. That’s why, in the face of oncoming waves of attacks on our religious liberty, we dare defend against the leftist War on Prayer coming to our state.
If you stand with us, I’m asking you to join our efforts by signing the petition stating that Alabamians believe in the freedom to express our values publicly in prayer, and we will dare to defend that right.
You know, the first rule of writing a petition, I imagine, is that the people you’re fighting against shouldn’t be so eager to sign it. Because I’m pretty sure FFRF staffers won’t even flinch when reading it. The Alabama GOP just doesn’t get it: FFRF supports everyone’s freedom to express their religious beliefs — even in public.
All they oppose, in this regard, are government officials promoting those religious beliefs. That’s what Coleman was doing in his capacity as Superintendent. That’s what FFRF was against. That’s all that FFRF was against.
As I write this, the petition has nearly 1,500 signers.
After FFRF gets ahold of it, they might even have a few more.
(Thanks to Brian for the link!)