Scholarship Athlete Claims His Coach is Forcing Him to Choose Between Football and God

Most high school and college coaches will make reasonable accommodations for their athletes if there’s a conflict between the game and something else. Have a wedding to attend? No problem. You can leave practice early in order to catch a plane. Celebrating your bar mitzvah on game day? Okay, you can skip the one game.

But those accommodations have to go both ways. The athletes know the practice schedule and competition days in advance. They need to work around those obligations.

In Oregon, Portland State University football player Vincent Johnson hasn’t figured that out. He wants to skip several practices in order to attend church. His coach, Nigel Burton, was willing to let him do that a couple of times, but no more. Now, Johnson is complaining that the coach is forcing him to choose between two things he loves:



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North Carolina’s Religion-in-Schools Law Wrongly Suggests Teachers Can Participate During Student-Led Prayers

Earlier this summer, legislators in North Carolina passed Senate Bill 370, which (unnecessarily) reiterated the rights of students to express their faith in school. These rights were already protected under the law, but you can never appease religious voters too much…

The Republican-dominated House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in support of the bill, with plenty of Democrats helping them out. The Republican governor, as expected, signed it into law.

But there is reason to be worried because the bill included this line:

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Mississippi’s Jackson Public School District Began the Year with Jesus at a Mandatory Event for Faculty Members

In the district I taught in, we used to hold a massive beginning-of-the-year event for faculty members at a nearby Christian church. It was the only local space that could accommodate that many people. But it wasn’t a problem because, other than the building itself, you wouldn’t have known you were in a church. The speakers focused on the upcoming school year and there were no prayers or anything of the sort.

The Jackson Public School District in Mississippi held a similar event a couple of weeks ago at the Mississippi Coliseum… but infused Christianity throughout the mandatory, three-hour-long, district-sponsored event.

It must have been a surprise for any faculty member who looked at the event description on the district’s website:



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Brigham Young University Bookstore Accidentally Stocks Greeting Cards Celebrating Same-Sex Weddings

Officials at Brigham Young University sprang into action last week when a moral crisis rocked their campus: Hallmark greeting cards celebrating same-sex weddings showed up unannounced in the campus bookstore.

The Mormon-owned BYU operates under an “honor code” banning anyone from acting on feelings of same-sex attraction. According to BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins, the greeting cards — which read “Mr. and Mr.” or “Mrs. and Mrs.” — violated that code.

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“In God We Trust” Signs Will Go Up in Isle of Wight (VA) Schools

In 2001, shortly after 9/11, the Republican-controlled Virginia legislature passed a bill saying that all public schools had to put the statement “In God We Trust” somewhere where everyone could see it. They didn’t even refer to it as the “national motto” until later versions of the bill, which suggests this was all about pushing religion in the schools and had little to do with patriotism.

In Isle of Wight, school district officials say they were unaware of the legislation. (Like many bills that push religion in schools, the politicians don’t really care about enforcement; they just want to be able to say to voters that they were able to pass the legislation.) But they’re aware of it now. They received a donation of signs from a local Veterans of Foreign Wars and plan to put them up when the school year begins:



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