Principal Says He Was Fired for Praying at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Meeting

LehrMANCHESTER, Ga. — A high school principal in Georgia is speaking out after he says that he was fired for praying at a voluntary Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting last month.

Dr. Michael Lehr, who has served as the principal of Manchester High School for the past three years, told reporters that he was informed last month—just two days after he led prayer with the group—that his contract was not being renewed.

“We’re all kind of baffled by the decision,” he told local television station WBRL. “The superintendent has heard me pray at meetings before. She’s been beside me when I cite Scripture at graduation. Her own board meetings begin with prayer.”

While Lehr states that he was not provided with a reason for his dismissal, he does not know what else the matter could regard. The principal has been placed on leave without pay and is prohibited from participating in campus activities. A meeting is scheduled for May 12 to make his termination official.

“As a non-tenured employee, I’m not entitled to an explanation or hearing,” he said.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a voluntary group consisting of Christian students who are involved in campus sports. There are hundreds of chapters of the organization at schools across the country.

Lehr had filled in last month after the leader was not able to be present to lead the students in prayer and Bible study. The gathering is held outside of school hours—either before or after school.

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One student that was a part of the group told reporters that other staff members have helped lead the meetings in the past.

“He did our sermon and that was nice of him, but I didn’t think he would be fired for it, if that was the reason he was let go,” the student, who did not wish to be identified, stated.

Parents state that they are concerned about Lehr’s termination, and believe that it is wrongful for the principal to be fired because of his involvement with Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“It is breaking our hearts … because it is not supposed to be like this,” one anonymous parent told News Radio 106.7’s Nathalie Pozo.

“I want prayer in this school,” parent Angila Waddell commented to My Fox Atlanta. “I am proud to see our football team take a knee and pray before and after games. And also in clubs. We’re just shocked.”

Superintendent Carol Lane has declined to give comment on why she fired Lehr.

“I never comment on personnel issues,” she told reporters. “I’m sorry that I cannot provide you with any information. Possibly at a later date.”

The website for Manchester High School notes that Lehr and his family attend Manchester Church of the Nazarene. He was named the 1997 Teacher of the Year at T. J. Elder Middle School and the 1998 Teacher of the Year for the Washington County School System.

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  • Dream Theater Moment of Reason

    If it is found out that he was fired for praying in a Christian group, and that is the reason for being fired, that is against the law. Lehr had filled in last month after the leader was not able to be present to lead the students in prayer and Bible study. The gathering is held outside of school hours—either before or after school. One of the reasons is that the Freedom of religion restoration act and other decisions led to groups for this exact reason. The question becomes, will they be brave enough to tell him WHY he was fired.

    • uzza

      That absolutely is NOT against the law. It absolutely IS against the law for a school administrator to lead prayers in school. Anyone should know this.

      • Heil Hitler!

        сатанизм является еврейский культ.

        • UmustBKiddinMe

          That’s ridiculous. Satanism is not a Jewish cult.

          • Heil Hitler!

            satan = hebrew
            satanism = jewish

          • Heil Hitler!

            jewish mammonism = baphomet = mahomet = muslim brotherhood

            It is the same two-faced hermaphrodite devil.

      • Harrison Koch

        Read the dang article. It was AFTER school hours. And please show me that law where a teacher cannot lead prayers in school. That isn’t a law at all.

        • uzza

          Bishop v. Aronov and
          Peloza v. Capistrano Unified School
          for two. It most definitely IS a law. Now please show me a law that says they can.

          • Harrison Koch

            Bishop v. Aronov says nothing about prayer, pertains only to a university campus, that it has the right to set curriculum, and only during classroom hours.

            Peloza v. Capistrano Unif. School ALSO did not pertain to prayer, but merely found that Peloza’s religious freedoms were not being violated pertaining to teaching evolution as science.

            The free exercise clause of the first ammendment allows one to pray whenever, wherever they please:

            “the free exercise and enjoyment of religious … worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever … be allowed … to all mankind: Provided, that the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State.”

            NEXT!

          • Heil Hitler!

            Reynolds v. United States 1878… marriage is one man and one woman…

            Kenyans know English much better now, thanks to WHITE Christian missionaries… and know that “spread the other cheek” is not in the Bible… like the media says it is.

            Boko Haram = Hómo Barak

          • Joyce

            I believe the termed phrase is ‘turn the other cheek’. Spread the other cheek gives me a much different impression such as ‘brown nosing’ or one more degrading……

          • Heil Hitler!

            “When the fairies are displeased with anybody, they are said to send their elves to pinch them. The ecclesiastics, when they are displeased with any civil state, make also their elves, that is, superstitious, enchanted subjects, to pinch their princes, by preaching sedition; or one prince, enchanted with promises, to pinch another.”

            Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan, 1651

          • Joyce

            I prefer to believe in angels over fairies although children stories associate both with good rather than evil.

          • Heil Hitler!

            inane

          • uzza

            Well that’s your opinion of those two cases. Here’s the opinion of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, from their Handbook, of those two cases:
            “school employees may not engage in a discussion of their own religious beliefs with students, whether that is part of a student meeting or not.”
            Apparently you think the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a lot of ignorant liars, eh?

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            “The free exercise clause of the first ammendment allows one to pray whenever, wherever they please”

            You would benefit from a better understanding of the 1st Amendment. What the 1st Amendment does is prevent the government from prohibiting the exercise of religion. That it no way means that the government is not allowed to restrict religious expression, which it has and continues to do quite legally.

            You, of course, are free to pray silently whenever and wherever you care to.

          • Ericzipp

            Please read a little before you blab you ignorance.
            The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            Oh, thank goodness you have come long to educate me so that I won’t blab ignorance.

            “The First Amendment (Amendment I)”

            Ok, so the First Amendment is also referred to as Amendment I. Wow. You would have thought that. Your insight is amazing.

            “impeding the free exercise of religion,”

            See, you are already making me smarter. I had no idea that the 1st Amendment (Amendment I) contained the word “impeding”. All this time I thought that the 1st Amendment said “prohibit the free exercise thereof”. Can you provide me with the actual text from the amendment that includes the word “impeding”? Plus this is such great news for any religion that wants to participate in human sacrifice or hold their services outdoors at 3:00 am in a residential neighborhood. They can now use the 1st Amendments protection that the government is not allowed to “impede” their religious expression. Man, how have the courts miss that all these years?????

            “infringing on the freedom of the press”

            Gosh, there you go again teaching me stuff. I had no idea that the word “infringing” was included in the 1st Amendment. If I could impose upon you again, would you be able to provide me with the text of the amendment which includes the word “infringing”?

            “interfering with the right to peaceably assemble”

            Well dag nabit. You’ve done it again. I had no idea that the word “interfering” was part of the 1st Amendment protections regarding the right of the people to peacefully assemble. Can you provide the text from the amendment that includes the word “interfering”.

            I anxiously await your responses so that be able to no longer be ignorant of the 1st Amendment (Amendment I) that you are obviously so familiar with.

          • Josey

            Sure they can have their assemblies as long as it does not involve a crime such as human sacrifice which is murder in case you didn’t know when you suggested such a thing…geez, they will be held accountable by Almighty God as to what their assembling is for and as far as holding assemblies in neighborhoods, there are associations like home owner associations that do not allow such things for noise reasons at 3 am so guess they would have to follow those HOA’S.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            Well then you should talk to Ericzipp, because he believes that the government is not allowed to interfere with religious expression in any way.

            “so guess they would have to follow those HOA’S.”

            What? You said you are going to do whatever you want regarding expressing your religious beliefs and it doesn’t matter if it bothers other people. You said you don’t have to follow the laws of man regarding your religious expression. If that’s true, why in the world would you have to follow the rules of an HOA?

          • Josey

            I don’t abide under an HOA and wouldn’t but many do.

          • Josey

            No man will tell me I have to pray silently if I choose to shout out loud to God of Heaven and earth out in public, I shall do so, if I feel like doing a dance out in public in honour of God I will do so, my life belongs to Almighty God and Jesus Christ not man. I don’t fear what man might do to me, they can destroy the body but no one can destroy my spirit or soul except for God and I know I belong to Him so He will keep my soul and spirit safe in His hands. I give thanks at restaurants as well and ask God to bless the food before I or those with me eat, doesn’t seem to bother anyone else around me at other tables and I don’t give a hoot if it does bother anyone, God deserves the honour and I ask Him to bless the food for the wellness of my body. In other words no one needs your permission to talk or shout or pray out loud to Almighty God, it is our God given right.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            Great attitude of “I don’t care about anyone else – I’m going to do whatever I want”. You go, Josey!

          • Josey

            No, not going to do anything I want except to follow what God wants and if He wants me to shout out or pray in public I will obey Him over man, that was my point but again you take things out of context. I am usually very easy to get along with because of the Holy Spirit in me but I had to exaggerate a point to say Obedience to God comes first. And I won’t even defend myself on your accusation of “I don’t care about others”, I care so much that I will tell you you’re going to hell if you do not believe in Christ who paid our penalty and is the only way to get to Heaven.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            “and if He wants me to shout out or pray in public I will obey Him”

            How would you know if God wants you to shout out in public?

            “And I won’t even defend myself on your accusation of “I don’t care about others””

            That’s probably wise, given your statement: “I don’t give a hoot if it does bother anyone”

            “I will tell you you’re going to hell if you do not believe in Christ”

            You are certainly entitled to your opinion.

          • Surey Morales

            Yes, agree. So I don’t think he will be able to demonstrate that it was due to him praying.

          • Croco Dile

            The act of prayer seems a little odd for people with belief in a god who is supposed to be impassible, omniscient and omnibenevolent. Clearly an omniscient god would already be aware of your problems and know what you want. Ultimately, your request may be regarded by God as either good or evil. If it is good, then why would God not have granted your wishes already? If it is evil, then why would God ever grant your request?

            “Now, you come along, and pray for something. Well suppose the thing you want isn’t in God’s Divine Plan? What do you want Him to do? Change His plan? Just for you? Doesn’t it seem a little arrogant? It’s a Divine Plan. What’s the use of being God if every run-down schmuck with a two-dollar prayerbook can come along and fuck up Your Plan?”— George Carlin

          • Heil Hitler!

            Reynolds v. United States 1878… marriage is one man and one woman…

          • Brian Evelich

            Sante Fe School District vs. Doe 2000: united States Supreme Court Ruling on prayer in schools by ruling that individuals can religiously express themselves. There are many circumstances in which students and teachers are allowed to pray at school or on school grounds. They have equal rights to religious activity in the same manner of any club. Teachers may participate in a volunteer manner as long as it is clear the participation is not part of their official capacity as a teacher.

          • Brian Evelich

            Both rulings you cite regarding faculty prayer were based within the context official duties and official presentation within course curriculum. Case law is unanimously supportive of religious expression outside of school hours and school curriculum.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            Actually, no, it is not. Football games, for example, are outside of school hours and not part of school curriculum. Yet the courts have ruled that schools may not sponsor prayer as a part of these events.

          • Brian Evelich

            Athletic events scheduled throught the school interscholastic athletic system were deemed by the circuit court to be “Official” school events. A non school run club after school hours not funded or sponsorred by the school is not a school run event.

          • Lark62

            The FCA is a school club. School personnel cannot lead religious activities.

          • Brian Evelich

            It is a club which takes place in schools but not during school hours and not as a part of the the schools curriculum. The FCA is an international Christian Ministry that among other things facilitates an extracurricular FCA chapter meeting for Christian athletes at the high school and college level. These are in no way part of any schools curriculum.

            I am a missionary for the largest childrens ministry on the globe and we run Bible clubs in elementary schools at over 64,000 locations globally with thousands in US public schools. The Supreme Court ruling of 6/11/2001 clearly states faculty do not lose their right for religious expression outside of their work hours even on their own campus.

        • weasel1886

          How do you know he was even fored for the prayer thing?

      • Brian Evelich

        Can you provide the statute ordinance, court ruling or law that states his praying is against the law? Since you used a capitol “S” to emphasize your confidence in the statement I am sure you must know this to be true.

        Sante Fe School District vs. Doe 2000: united States Supreme Court Ruling on prayer in schools by ruling that individuals can religiously express themselves. There are many circumstances in which students and teachers are allowed to pray at school or on school grounds. They have equal rights to religious activity in the same manner of any club. Teachers may participate in a volunteer manner as long as it is clear the participation is not part of their official capacity as a teacher.

        • uzza

          Equal Access Act of 1984, section 4071 (c)3
          “employees or agents of the school or government are present
          at religious meetings only in a nonparticipatory capacity;”

          Please entertain us also with your explanation of why the Fellowship of Christian Athletes itself states in their Handbook that
          “school employees may not engage in a discussion of their own religious beliefs with students, whether that is part of a student meeting or not.”

          • Brian Evelich

            Again, you quote a law written for “during work hours in their official role.” Though this article does not give specifics on the time of day this meeting took place, others reports online indicte this was not an official duty or role and it was not during work hours.

          • uzza

            You keep ignoring that even the FCA disagrees with you.

            Why you think laws are written for “during work hours in their official role.” is mysterious, since that appears nowhere in the law.

        • Josey

          Uzza is great at generalizing statements.

      • Dream Theater Moment of Reason

        Nope you are wrong. After school hours, you can’t be fired for praying in a Christian group. If that is the reason than it is against the freedom of religion plain and simple.

        • uzza

          That’s ok, I realize it would kill you to read the text of the relevant law two posts below. Not everyone can learn things.

          • Dream Theater Moment of Reason

            You’re still wrong lol

  • UmustBKiddinMe

    “Principal Says He Was Fired for Praying at Fellowship of Christian Athletes Meeting”

    Yet he says he was not provided with a reason for his dismissal.

    • weasel1886

      These articles don’t make sense sometimes. They leave out information, make wild claims, and are generally not news, but opinions.

      • UmustBKiddinMe

        Sometimes?

        • jmichael39

          nobody is forcing you to read them, if you think they’re so terrible.

          • bill2

            this is a new site. they should actually provide the full story.

          • jmichael39

            You’re free to start your own site and print what you want…or not read these stories because they won’t print exactly what you want.

          • bill2

            they won’t print the full story. they leave things out so that it fits their narrative

          • jmichael39

            so freakin’ what…so does literally every new source. Don’t tell me you’re one of the, what, 12% of the US population who actually believe that our news sources are NOT biased? All of them are. EVERYONE. Use your mind…and deal with it.

          • bill2

            I believe that many of them have better standards than this place, conservatives always seem to have trouble printing the truth

          • jmichael39

            AH…there it is. These guys don’t report with a liberal bent, so therefore they MUST not be telling the truth. So logical, Bill.
            Rather than asking you to prove that which you cannot, namely that “conservatives ALWAYS seem to have trouble printing the truth”…why don’t you just show us in THIS article what lie has been ‘printed’.
            Otherwise, feel free to go read other of those other sites if you can’t stand this site. Oh wait…are you one of those guys assigned by the left to come troll right winged sites?

          • bill2

            not a liberal bent a truthful bent

          • jmichael39

            Oh thank you so much. I really needed that laugh. Oh wait, you’re serious. You actually believe that. LMAO…that’s even funnier.

          • weasel1886

            I like reading other points of view. That concept seems to go against modern thought

          • SickOfTheStupid

            reading then talking smack if you disagree you mean ……….

          • jmichael39

            then read and stop your complaining…otherwise do you own news site.

          • UmustBKiddinMe

            I never said I thought they were terrible.

    • uzza

      He didn’t get a reason, so he’s guessing it was because of that. Out the other side of his mouth he freely admits citing scripture at graduation.
      He knows damn well that’s illegal, so he’s trying to pick a less egregious violation of the law in the hopes all the Evangelibaptists will rally behind him.

      • Josey

        There can be circumstances where it is legal to cite scriptures and give prayers at graduation so your statement “it is illegal” does not fit a general all situation at graduations. Read up on it and stop giving generalizations.

  • Darrell Beam

    Her doesn’t know why he was fired and neither do we. Don’t just to conclusions. For all we may know he did something else to bring about the firing. Not enough info here. What he should do is file a suit, which would force the system to provide the reason for his firing.

  • Rev T J Carter

    You can bet that either the Freedom from Religion Foundation or some Muslim or Atheist group is involved in this. These events happened either before school or after school, not during school. Every Christ in Georgia should be a that School Board meeting in protest against this. There is a major attempt to stop Christianity in the country and it’s time that the body of Christ (The Church) as a whole stands up and defend their right to worship. Sit back and do NOTHING and then Christianity as a whole will be under great persecution in the country by it’s own government. Christian MUST stand firm for their rights. Muslims get to do their worship even to the point that there prayer (to a false god) stops traffic in New York and other places. Christians stand UP for JESUS and don’t be bullied by your government. Stand your ground !

    • weasel1886

      We don’t even know the reason he was fired, yet you want action against people that may have done no wrong. Not very Christian sounding

    • UmustBKiddinMe

      “Every Christ in Georgia”

      How many Christs are in Georgia?

  • jmichael39

    1) it’s all speculative at this point, and with the non-tenure rules, like will remain speculative. He might have a reason for believing he was fired for praying at the FCA meeting, he’ll likely never “know”.
    2) no matter what the courts have said there should be never be any law that restricts a government employee from participating in whatever manner they are invited to participate by a club or group. He was invited to be there. He was invited to participate. Why would ANYONE have a problem with that? Seriously.
    3) If there IS a rule in the FCA handbooks restricting school officials from participating, then THEY should be the one ‘punishing’ him for participating. Though I am certain they only have that in their rules in order to protect school officials from this very hassle.

    • weasel1886

      What if a kid was Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc? Would he be looked at differently because he was not part of the group? Would he not be invited to their activities?
      I think these are legitimate questions . We still don’t know why he was fired so all of this is speculation

      • jmichael39

        Do you actually know what FCA is? It is not Fellowship of Religious Athletes. It is not Fellowship of Whatever Athletes. It is Fellowship of CHRISTIAN Athletes. Do you think anyone coming into the group would know in advance that, hey, maybe there might be something actually “Christian” about this group? GEES,

        • weasel1886

          I know what it is. Let’s say 34 of a football team of 35 are Christian and 1 is Jewish. How does that work out for the 1 kid. The school i worked at requirred you to join no matter what your faith.
          How does excluding a lid make them feel like they are part of a team or school.?

          • jmichael39

            First of all, that’s not going to happen on a FCA team. Second of all, so what? If the Jewish or whatever boy knew what the group was about before he joined, he made a personal choice to be a part of the group and everything it stands for. You don’t like it? Too bad. FCA is NOT school funded. So what the heck do you care? Why should anybody care whether a teacher or administration, who happens to be Christian, is asked to participate in an actual Christian group’s activities and actually ‘participates’? What next, weasel? You want to make sure the pastor of a Christian church doesn’t pray in the name of Jesus because it might offend some atheist who might be attending?

          • weasel1886

            If it is endorsed by the school oe sponsored by the school it is a big deal. In some schools joining while not mandatory will single kids out for ridicule or being ostersized

          • jmichael39

            BS and you know it. Even IF a school is going to ‘endorse’ a Christian organization, they know full well what the goals of that group are. Don’t even begin to play that BS game here. But that being said, there is a big difference between an “endorsed” group…one that accepts funding from the school and a group that is merely allowed. Better do your homework before you stick you foot in your mouth on this one. I am very familiar with FCA having had a son attend one of their camps on a few occasions. When going onto campuses, FCA is always there strictly to help strengthen the faith of Christians involved in school sports programs. There IS no other reason they are there. So no athlete is required to join as part of a ‘team’…and anyone who does go to the club knows without question they are going for the purpose of having their Christian faith strengthened. No unbeliever on any team is required to attend whatsoever. If they don’t like having their Christian faith strengthened they don’t have to go.

          • weasel1886

            So you call me a liar to strenghten your Christianity? Perfect

          • jmichael39

            When you’re BSing, you’re BSing…

          • weasel1886

            Your opinion

          • jmichael39

            You’re right it is. But it’s still BS. By your standards, a chess club should be required to also include checkers, backgammon, tic tac toe and all sorts of other games so as not to ridicule or ostracize kids who don’t have a clue how to play chess. But you wouldn’t even begin to agree with that. Why? Because you don’t give a damn about eliminating chess from our children’s lives…only religion and likely Christianity specifically. So, yes, it’s BS. And you know it.

          • weasel1886

            Your opinion.

  • FoJC_Forever

    Lehr should state the reason he believes his firing is due to him speaking at a religious event. This smacks of someone trying to use society’s anti-Christian and anti-religious attitudes for personal publicity.

    Whatever case law anyone cites, the Constitution guarantees every citizen freedom of religious expression. What the courts have been doing over the years against religious freedom may be “law”, but it isn’t Constitutional.

    Regardless of what those who are being empowered by the spirits of antichrist do to us, all will face Judgement before Jesus Christ. The sufferings we have to endure in this life is nothing compared to the glory which will be manifested in us when we are fully changed into the image of Jesus Christ. That Day is approaching and it is important that all those who know and love Jesus stay centered on Him and led each day by the Holy Spirit.

  • Joyce

    They could site ‘on school grounds’ or possibly ‘during a school activity/function’. Either case needs to be defined specifically within the school guidelines. In my state, we have the unfortunate ruling “either side may terminate without cause” which in turn offers zero protection for the employee. Zero protection is becoming a growing trend.

  • John Mark IB

    welcome to AmeriKa in the new world order and the times of the end soon to begin, this should make the atheists happy, and is the same as the go fund me decision to cut out Bible believing Christians as well, they will not rest and be happy until they have eliminated us Christians, as a threat to their very existence, they won’t get rid of the muslims so easy though haha, and this is not really surprising but definitely very sad, this is hat we can continue to expect and if we’re really living the Christian life for and in Christ we can expect to be persecuted as well especially as wee see the time approaching, and signs of the times all over the place, well then what should you and I be busy doing it’s easy and it begins with telling them all the truth with this site and or solid Bible gospel tracts, here’s hope pass it on ….see tract sites below too if they allow this post

    http:// faith saves. net

    www. good person test. com

    http:// faith saves. net /Daniel- proof- bible/

    good sites for solid Biblical tracts here

    http:// www. baptist-books .com/ category /TRA .html

    http:// www. fellowship tract league .org/

  • LeftCoast

    Lehr, keep your head up, keep the faith and God will bless you with a better job. Someone should go to the next board meeting and see if they opened with a prayer or scriptures.

  • B. Vensent Atterberry

    More to the story: It has been reported that he was told weeks before the incident in question that his contract was not going to be renewed. Many were not happy with their perceptions of the negative directions the school was going with discipline, grades, performance, morale etc. He may have been suspended (with pay) for breaking the rules; where in GA school officials are not supposed to “lead” or “conduct” religious activities while in their role as an educator. I don’t entirely agree with the rule but in this case the School System may be been acting well within cause and reason for disciplining a faculty member.

    • Lark62

      I thought there would be more to this story. The real issue was his overall performance, but you get better headlines screaming persecution.

  • BarkingDawg

    As the principal of a public school, he should not have been involved in any religious activity with his students.

    Period.

    How hard is that to understand?

  • Surey Morales

    It will be hard to impossible to demonstrate that the reason was religious discrimination. This article alone have him saying that he has prayed before in front of the superintendent and in other groups. That he has cited the Bible before. If it was always aloud, known, then why will that be the reason now?