In Ohio, Another Bible-Preaching Public High School Football Coach

What is it about football coaches that makes them more susceptible to violate the First Amendment?

The latest example of a football coach preaching Jesus to his players is Chris Wells of Middletown High School.

Chris Wells (via Facebook)

In the letter from [Freedom From Religion Foundation] staff attorney Rebecca S. Markert, that was obtained by the Journal-News, she wrote the group with 20,000 members, including 550 in Ohio, was contacted by a concerned parent of a football player. She said the group was told Wells tells his players to bow their heads and “leads” them in prayer before team meals. She wrote that Wells also has encouraged his players to attend his church, invited them to church events and offered them rides.

Markert said the group was informed Wells told his players they would be “saved” if they attended the church events.

All illegal, of course. And if he were promoting any other religion besides Christianity, I gather he would’ve been punished a long time ago.

At least the district’s superintendent put a firm stop to the proselytizing:

Superintendent Sam Ison said the district took the letter “seriously and acted upon it promptly” Wednesday afternoon by having MHS Principal Carmela Cotter and Athletic Director Gary Lebo discuss the situation with Wells. Ison said while the district wants its players to maintain “high morale values,” Wells needs to respect others’ religious beliefs.

Wells, 41, was told to quit talking to his players about religion and he agreed to follow the district’s rules, Ison said on Thursday morning.

Wells won’t be disciplined, but I hope the parent who raised the red flag in the first place keeps watch on what he does next season, lest he lay low for now and re-emerge as Pastor Wells come fall.

(Thanks to Laura for the link)

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.


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