The Daily Caller Is Wrong: Atheists Aren’t Trying to Ban “All Religious Expression” at High School Football Games

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the public high school football teams in Florida’s Orange and Seminole Counties. After discovering that coaches were leading team prayers and there were “team chaplains,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation called for a full stop on the church/state violations.

We already know students and parents on the team have no idea what this issue is really about since they were praying on the field after last Friday’s game in protest. Even though no one was ever stopping them from doing that.

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After Apopka High’s Football Game Last Night, Christians Prayed on the Field in the Most Meaningless Protest Ever

A couple of days ago, we learned that public high schools in Florida’s Orange and Seminole Counties had football coaches leading team prayers, not to mention team chaplains. It’s about as egregious a church/state violation as you’ll ever see at a high school.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters to those districts warning them about the constitutional concerns and, to their credit, the districts took action, saying the coach-led prayers would stop and the chaplains were no longer permitted to pray with the teams. They could pray on their own time — and the students were always permitted to pray by themselves — but the adults could no longer coerce the students into praying (directly or indirectly).

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There’s No Reason Public High Schools Need Chaplains for the Football Team

While we’re on the subject of Christians who think they can get away with breaking the law, what’s with all these pastors who think they can double as chaplains of the local public high school football team?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent letters earlier this year to schools in Florida’s Orange and Seminole counties warning them about that problem (among several other issues). The districts are finally getting around to tellings coaches they can’t have team chaplains and the pastors are not taking the news well:

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Despite a Legal Complaint, This Georgia School District is Still Pushing Christianity on Students

It’s been weeks since we learned that Christianity was the glue binding together the Chestatee High School football team in Gainesville, Georgia. The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center even had pictures of coaches involved in a team prayer, a Bible verse quoted on the team’s workout log sheet, and cheerleaders hoisting banners with Bible verses on them.



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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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