Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Atheist bullies strike again: Delaware high school coaches cave on post-game prayer

If something happens once you can dismiss it as an anomaly. If something happens twice you pay attention and examine for trends. However, when it happens repeatedly you've got more than a trend, you have a deliberate strategy and plan.

And so it is with the incessant and relentless attack of atheist groups against prayer and religious activity involving football. We've reported here about the attack levied against my own Alma Mater, the University of Tennessee - and mentioned the attack against Clemson University Coach Dabo Sweeney - and also the case brought against Georgia's Madison County High School for their donated monument which has two New Testament biblical verses inscribed. Well, the atheist bullies from FRFF are at it again!

As reported by Fox News, "An atheist group succeeded in sidelining football coaches at a Delaware high school from post-game prayers, but the holy huddle will continue as a players-only affair, according to a report. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Robert Fulton earlier this month to allege a "serious constitutional violation" occurring at Cape Henlopen High School: Coaches participating in postgame prayers with players.

One photograph in a local newspaper showed head coach Bill Collick in a prayer circle with his team on Oct. 3, The News Journal reports. "He's got his hands on players and he's bowing his head and he's participating in a prayer circle with students," said Elizabeth Cavell, an FFRF staff attorney who drafted the letter to Fulton. "Our objection to that is it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which has been interpreted to say that public school districts and their employees cannot advance or endorse religion while acting in their official capacity."

That interpretation is severely flawed if applied to this case, as well as most of the cases FFRF has lobbied.

What FFRF is strategically doing is advancing a secular humanist agenda to eradicate the Judeo-Christian faith heritage in America - and they've decided to attack sporting events, specifically football at public institutions to make their point. Their cohort in this insanity, Mikey Weinstein, at the oxymoronic Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has embarked upon the same crusade against our armed forces.

Separation of church and state was a concept - a principle - written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Convention articulating that America would not have an established state religion or a Head of State who was also a Head of Church - there would be a separation.

So a coach kneeling with his players during a post-game prayer circle is in keeping with the First Amendment of freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof!



Anonymous said...

The coach should be allowed to "participate" as long as he isn't leading. If a student were leading the prayer, it seems the coach might feel compelled by his personal, Constitutionally-protected beliefs to bow his head and join the prayer. To prevent him from doing so would be an even more egregious violation of the same amendment.

Anonymous said...

I am an atheist. I think that prayer is silly and it is annoying to non-believers, but one of the wonderful things about the magnificent United states of America is that people have a right to be religious if they want to. There should not be any "pressure", however, on those who do not wish to participate.

Anonymous said...

But in such a case as this there is indeed team pressure to participate on those not wishing to "pray" for whatever reason. And so it creates an unnecessary undermining of the team spirit and maybe pointless hostility within the team. Yes, religion always seems to cause discord!

The Constitutional argument is another matter, but just because an atheist group has a view doesn't warrant the emotionally biased term "attack".

Anonymous said...

The US Supreme Court has never said that religious prayers, quotes, etc. cannot be done by public employees or put on public buildings. Lower courts have made this error on occasion but it would be best to have the high court resolve it.


Bird of Paradise said...

If atheists cant tolerate prayers then they all need to leave america and go live in CUBA or CHINA

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with both Anon 12:36 and Anon 4:00
I think that if I were the coach I would respectfully 'participate' by bowing my head in a student led prayer.
I also think I would try to ensure that no-one felt excluded because they were of a different faith or none.
So long as it was free from influence there is no reason why these young people should not be allowed to pray.

Doug Indeap said...

It is important to distinguish between "individual" and "government" speech about religion. The constitutional principle of separation of church and state does not purge religion from the public square--far from it. Indeed, the First Amendment's "free exercise" clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views--publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., public school teachers and coaches instructing students), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment's constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. (Students also are free to exercise and express their religious views--in a time, manner, and place that does not interfere with school programs and activities.) If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

Separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three branches and established checks and balances. Similarly, they did not merely say there should be separation of church and state; rather, they actually separated them by (1) establishing a secular government on the power of "We the people" (not a deity), (2) according that government limited, enumerated powers, (3) saying nothing to connect that government to god(s) or religion, (4) saying nothing to give that government power over matters of god(s) or religion, and (5), indeed, saying nothing substantive about god(s) or religion at all except in a provision precluding any religious test for public office. Given the norms of the day (by which governments generally were grounded in some appeal to god(s)), the founders' avoidance of any expression in the Constitution suggesting that the government is somehow based on any religious belief was quite a remarkable and plainly intentional choice. They later buttressed this separation of government and religion with the First Amendment, which affirmatively constrains the government from undertaking to establish religion or prohibit individuals from freely exercising their religions. The basic principle, thus, rests on much more than just the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

The FFR folks sure are getting their panties in a twist over something they "don't believe in". If they don't believe and think it's silly, then they shouldn't care what believers do. And, I will thank them to quit trying to stop my " exercise thereof." ;)

Anonymous said...

I will thank them to quit trying to stop my " exercise thereof."
Then do not inflict your religion onto people who do not want it.

Anonymous said...

"free exercise of religion" is what muslims want too - go figure how good that is!

Anonymous said...

Yo 2:53, get over yourself. In this country you've never had anything "inflicted" on you. You're welcome to ignore anything you'd like.

Anonymous said...

2:06 - I don't think you can ignore the taxman without punishment being inflicted on you!

Anonymous said...

"free exercise of religion" is open to too broad an interpretation, such that you can claim the freedom to indulge in any practice no matter how egregious or antisocial as part of your religion that must be respected even if it patently disrespects other people.