Article Notes How Dozens of Public High School Football Coaches in the South Think Proselytizing is Part of Practice

In a frightening-yet-not-at-all-shocking article in the Chattanooga Times Free Press today, Stephen Hargis reports that the number of football coaches who think preaching Christianity is part of the game plan isn’t just a single individual or even a handful of people. The problem is much worse than that:

Responding to a Times Free Press survey, 32 coaches who work in public schools in Tennessee, Georgia or Alabama professed to be Christian; all said they endorse some form of team prayer. Those coaches said they consider the increased activity by the Wisconsin-based foundation a violation of their religious rights and of their ability to mold the boys on their team into moral young men.

“We as coaches fail if we only teach football, so we try to set an example of how a Christian man handles any situation,” Ridgeland High coach Mark Mariakis said. “I want the kids to remember that example more than anything they learn on the football field.”

If that name is familiar, it’s because Mariakis is the coach from Georgia who led his team in prayer before and after games:

Mariakis notes that the only thing that has changed since last year is that he has stopped leading the team prayers. Now, he lets the students do it. (Are they the captains? I don’t know, but I’m guessing that’s probably the case since he calls them the team “leaders,” which makes the prayers all the more coercive to the rest of the team.)

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Tennessee Parents Protest Formation of Gay-Straight Alliance, Citing Anti-Christian Discrimination

Parents in Lafayette, Tennessee have been protesting the formation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club at Macon County High School — but it seems their real problem is that the school’s Christian clubs aren’t receiving the priority treatment they want.

According to the Macon County Times, students at the school have expressed interest in forming a GSA, but aren’t having luck in finding a faculty sponsor. The school’s Principal, Stephanie Meador, told the county’s Board of Education last week that there is no “special treatment” at play for the club whatsoever. In fact, it remains to be seen whether the club will actually get off the ground at all without an advisor.

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After Her Teacher Compared Atheism to Smoking (Saying Humans Naturally Rejected Both), a Young Atheist Took Action

The summer before Sara Sheppard began her senior year of high school in Katy, Texas, she took an Economics class. Her teacher was well-liked by the students but Sara noticed that he spent a lot of time talking about Christianity in the classroom:

As the semester went by I realized that his passion for passing on his knowledge was not focused on economics but focused on religion, prayer, and spirituality. Instead of teaching economics he would teach us that certain historical people were among the greatest because of their spiritual enlightenment. He also expressed to the students that it was human nature to have a spiritual and religious component, therefore making atheists unnatural and against human nature. This teacher went so far with this idea to even compare atheism to smoking and how the body originally rejects smoking just like “the mind rejects the concept of atheism.”

Even though she called him out on that last statement, explaining that he shouldn’t say things like that in the classroom, it didn’t change anything.

Reporting his conduct didn’t seem like a safe option — it could have made her a target of students and other teachers. So Sara did the next best thing.

She recorded the lectures with her iPhone.

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Head Teachers Suspended For Inviting U.S. Missionaries Into Scottish Schools

The strange saga of the Scottish public school that allowed American homosexuality-denouncing evangelists to “help out,” and to give children as young as five years books like How Do You Know God Is Real? and Exposing the Myth of Evolution, has just entered a new phase:

Two head teachers at a Scottish primary school who allowed members of a US creationist Christian religious sect into classrooms have been removed from their posts, it emerged last night. Headteacher Alexandra MacKenzie and her deputy Elizabeth Mockus — who job-share at Kirktonholme Primary School in East Kilbride — are to be “redeployed” to backroom duties while South Lanarkshire Council carries out an investigation. … Education chiefs want to determine why the Church of Christ sect had been allowed into the school to work as classroom assistants for the last eight years.

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Minnesota Catholic School Fires Second Gay Teacher In a Year

For 18 years, Kristen Ostendorf worked as a teacher at Totino-Grace High School in Minnesota in relative silence: she didn’t tell anyone that she is gay. But after she finally came out to her colleagues last month, her work at the Catholic school immediately came to an end.

43-year-old Ostendorf told the MinnPost that during a workshop of 120 teachers in late August, she blurted out, “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy.” The next day she was asked to resign, having broken the Catholic school’s code of conduct barring any public speech or actions that contradict the Church’s teachings. When she refused, she was promptly fired.

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