The president of Snead State Community College in Alabama is fending off threats from atheists after he delivered prayer before eating a meal. Listen to my podcast story about the incident above and click here to pre-order my new book, “Twilight’s Last Gleaming: Can America Be Saved?”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, an anti-Christian gang of atheists and agnostics, came down with a raging case of indigestion after they discovered that President Joe Whitmore made it a practice to say grace before eating a meal.
The Wisconsin-based group wants you to believe that someone in Boaz, Alabama was so triggered by the prayer that they filed a complaint.
They accused the president of “imposing his personal religious beliefs on Snead State employees and treating Snead State as a Christian college — rather than the secular public college it is.”
They also got upset that Whitmore presented a “guiding Bible verse” for the staff — which they said made unbelievers feel “uncomfortable and excluded.”
“Our complainant has been required to partake in Christian prayer before meals and at staff events,” FFRF said in a statement.
FFRF attorney Chris Line says the prayers are unnecessary, divisive and unconstitutional.
“As a state-run institution, Snead State Community College is bound by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which ‘mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion,’” Line wrote in a letter. “Federal courts have routinely enforced the strictures of the Establishment Clause in the context of public colleges and universities. Instituting a ‘guiding bible verse,’ leading prayers or otherwise pushing your personal religious beliefs onto subordinates in your official capacity as president is coercive and clearly demonstrates a preference for religion over nonreligion, and Christianity over all other faiths.”
Gov. Kay Ivey defended Whitmore in a fierce statement — as did U.S. Katie Britt (R-AL).
“It is disappointing, although not surprising, to see an out-of-state, leftwing group launch yet another attack on Alabamians’ constitutionally protected religious liberty. Make no mistake — this is part of a continued, concerted effort to get more Americans to turn away from God,” Britt wrote in a statement to 1819News.com. “That’s the opposite of what we need as a nation — we need a revival. I will continue to stand up for the rights of each and every Alabamian in the United States Senate, while fighting every day for Alabama’s values and interests.”
FFRF has also attacked Auburn University over a student baptism service. Click here to read our extensive coverage of that event.
So what does the law say?
According to Department of Education guidelines, there is “nothing in the First Amendment that converts public schools into religion-free zones, or requires students, teachers, or other school officials to leave their private religious expression behind at the schoolhouse door.”
So the next time the faculty at Snead State Community College breaks bread together, President Whitworth will be well within his rights to thank Jesus for the fried chicken and biscuits.