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The following is a transcript of Todd’s morning radio commentary – heard on hundreds of stations around the nation.
A notorious gang of atheists is demanding that a Virginia school district investigate allegations that a soccer coach prayed with his team.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation says a “concerned citizen” observed coaches from Graham High School bowing their heads on the soccer field.
The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based gang of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers who loathe any public displays of Christianity. They are especially triggered by Nativity scenes and Christian coaches.
It’s unclear whether the “concerned citizen” was allowed to be on school property or if they were simply lurking in the bushes while taking photographs of the children.
That’s a tad bit creepy, even for atheists.
“It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to lead their teams in prayer,” FFRF attorney Christopher Line wrote to the school district. “Public school coaches must refrain not only from leading prayers themselves, but also from participating in students’ prayers.”
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held that high school football coaches who organize, lead or participate in prayers are violating the Establishment Clause.
The court stated that a coach “taking a knee” and “bowing his head” during even student-led prayers would “lead a reasonable observer to conclude he was endorsing religion.”
So what does the law say?
According to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes coaches are employees of the school and “may not lead prayer at either practices or games.”
“The dangers of an appearance of school endorsement and fear of coercion are present with coaches as well as teachers, because coaches are also employees of the school and represent the school to the athletes during these times,” the FCA handbook reads.
However, there is a bit of gray area when it comes to coaches actually being present during the prayers.
“Students may have their own times of prayer (as long as they initiate it and lead it) that take place immediately before or after practices and games, and the coach may be present at the place and time to maintain order and discipline,” the handbook states.
The out-of-town atheists are demanding that the school district stop all school-sponsored prayers.
And perhaps the district could also investigate the possibility of erecting a fence around the field – to keep out any atheist Peeping Toms.
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