High School Football Coach No Longer Leading Prayers Following Complaint From Atheist Group

dunmore-compressedDUNMORE, Pa. — A high school football coach in Pennsylvania is now no longer leading prayers with his team following the receipt of a complaint from a prominent professing atheist organization.

According to reports, Dunmore High School Head Coach Jack Henzes has led his team in prayer before each game for years.

“We pray to the good Lord hoping none of our players, or the other players, are hurt because we know how hard they work,” Henzes told local television station WBRE.

But in June, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to the Dunmore School District to assert that Henzes’ longstanding practice was unconstitutional. The organization said that it had been contacted by a local resident about the matter.

“When a public school employee acting in an official capacity organizes, leads or participates in team prayer, he effectively endorses religion on the district’s behalf,” the letter read.

It asked that Henzes consequently be prohibited from leading students in prayer.

Five months later, Dunmore Superintendent John Marichak has now responded with notification that he has instructed Henzes to discontinue leading the prayers.

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“We directed Coach Henzes to be sure that he should not partake in any such behavior,” Marichak wrote to FFRF on Oct. 31. “We also covered this with all of our personnel to be consistent and exhaustive in the upholding of the law.”

FFRF is now satisfied that its request has been fulfilled.

“We’re happy with what the school district has done and, hopefully, the constitutional boundaries will be respected going forward,” attorney Elizabeth Cavell told the Scranton Times-Tribune.

However, some residents state that they didn’t think that the matter was a big deal. Dunmore is a significantly Roman Catholic area.

“I don’t understand how people have this much time on their hands to protest issues like this when there are so many major issues out there—where whether or not a coach leads his football team in prayer ahead of the game is that important to them,” resident Beth Ann Zero told local television station WNEP.

“It’s just something you’re accustomed to doing every day, and Coach Henzes doesn’t just teach football, he teaches life lessons, and this is a life lesson I’m sure he’ll teach the Bucks,” also remarked alumnus Sal Marchese.

The team plans to continue to pray without Henzes’ leadership.

“We have a good close-knit team with the older guys and younger guys and we’ll definitely carry on the tradition,” running back Colin Holmes stated.

Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, is stated to have once said, “The foundation of all free government and all social order must be laid in families and in the discipline of youth. Young persons must not only be furnished with knowledge, but they must be accustomed to subordination and subjected to the authority and influence of good principles.”

“It will avail little that youths are made to understand truth and correct principles, unless they are accustomed to submit to be governed by them,” he declared. “And any system of education … which limits instruction to the arts and sciences, and rejects the aids of religion in forming the character of citizens, is essentially defective.”

Webster is known for writing the nation’s first dictionary, as well as the renowned 1824 Blue Back Speller.


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  • Amos Moses

    And on a not related note ………….

    BIN EXCLUSIVE: Sanhedrin Asks Putin and Trump to Build Third Temple in Jerusalem
    By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz November 10, 2016 , 11:30 am

    “Thus saith Hashem to His anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him, and to loose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and that the gates may not be shut.” Isaiah 45:1 (The Israel Bible™)

    The Sanhedrin has requested that president-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin work together to help rebuild the Temple. (Breaking Israel News)
    The Sanhedrin has requested that president-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin work together to help rebuild the Temple. (Breaking Israel News)
    The Nascent Sanhedrin is calling on Russian President Vladmir Putin and US president-elect Donald Trump to join forces and fulfill their Biblically-mandated roles by rebuilding the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
    Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, contacted Breaking Israel News to announce that the election of Trump, who has promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, coupled with Putin’s expressed desire for the Temple to be rebuilt, prompted the Jewish court to send a letter offering the two the opportunity to act as modern-day Cyrus figures: non-Jewish kings who recognize the importance of Israel and the Temple.
    Cyrus the Great, King of Persia in the sixth century BCE, announced in the first year of his reign that he was prompted by God to make a decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt.
    Thus saith Koresh king of Paras: All the kingdoms of the earth hath Hashem, the God of heaven, given me; and He hath charged me to build Him a house in Yerushalayim, which is in Yehuda. Ezra 1:2
    Cyrus sent the Jews under his rule back to Israel with a considerable sum of money with which to rebuild the Temple. The Sanhedrin plans to call on the two world leaders to take up this ancient Biblical decree and support the Jewish people in their holy mission.
    Rabbi Weiss explained that the US elections have made the eternal Jewish dream a very real possibility.
    “We are poised to rebuild the Temple. The political conditions today, in which the two most important national leaders in the world support the Jewish right to Jerusalem as their spiritual inheritance, is historically unprecedented,” Rabbi Weiss told Breaking Israel News.
    The Sanhedrin’s letter notes that Trump’s upset victory was due to his support of Jerusalem, and reminds Trump of his campaign promise to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, effectively recognizing the city as the capital of Israel. The Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed in Congress in 1995, initiated the moving of the embassy, but has been vetoed since every American president since. The Sanhedrin calls on Trump to withhold the veto after he takes office.
    The Sanhedrin also recalled Putin’s connection to the Temple in its letter. During his third official trip to Jerusalem in 2012, Putin paid a late-night visit to the Kotel (Western Wall). When he arrived at the holy site, the Russian leader stood in silence for several minutes, offering up a personal prayer, after which he read Psalms from a Russian-Hebrew prayer book.

    more breakingisraelnews/com/78372/bin-exclusive-sanhedrin-asks-putin-trump-build-third-temple-jerusalem/

  • Just

    … For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…this is the work of the devil to fight a good foundation that is being laid in the lives of young people by this “good shepherd”
    Always fighting prayer, and when a child picks up a gun and shoots everyone around, then, suddenly everyone seems to remember that there is a God and asks, where was God?

    • Craig Reynolds

      Timothy McVeigh in a 2001 Time Magazine interview: “I was raised Catholic. I was confirmed Catholic. Through my military years, I sort of lost touch with the religion. I never really picked it up, however I do maintain core beliefs. … I do believe in a God, yes.”
      Timothy McVeigh, bomber of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City – 168 dead, hundreds more injured. Where was god?

  • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Hang in there coach! We got Trump comin in fast, and will start to drain the swamp of homos, atheists and muslims along with the illegals! Thats only the beginning!

    • RWH

      Unlike Adolph Hitler, Trump doesn’t have the constitutional power to drain anything. In fact, he is now moderating his positions. This drain the swamp rhetoric resulted in the reign of terror known as the Third Reich where the undesirables were loaded off and disappeared.

    • Worf

      Your desire to remove those you don’t like is disturbing. Your attitude is reminiscent of nazi Germany. Just because you don’t agree with or like a group of people doesn’t justify wanting to get rid of them. The whole point of a free society is that the people don’t have to agree on everything. What you are promoting is distinctly unconstitutional. Atheists, Muslims, and LGBT folk are protected by the constitution, and your statement is dripping with prejudice and hate.

    • Just

      Where is your love? How on earth can you know God and promote hatred against others?

      • Kieran Dyke

        “Freedom of Religion” in America is completely about the right to act like a nasty cunt.

        • Craig Reynolds

          ” the right to act like a nasty cunt.” And the First Amendment also gives you the right to make a statement like that. By the way, how can an anatomical feature be nasty?

      • american4godncountry✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        Listen, you are either on THIS side of the fence or the OTHER side of the fence. You can either commit to the word of God or join your muzzie buddies in hell. Choice is yours, I pray you make the smart decision.

        • Worf

          “Do things my way or suffer.” Your intolerance
          is showing.

        • Kieran Dyke

          If Heaven is the domain of the sexist, racist, murderous monster described in the bible as “God”, hell would be the better place.

  • meamsane

    (FFRF) Finding Freedom Ridiculous Foundation

    • Kieran Dyke

      He can do what he likes as a private citizen. But when he’s on the public purse, he must obey the rules.

  • Stupid Atheist

    Absent those propitiations, will God no longer care if kids get hurt on the playing field…?

  • Guzzman

    The school district did the right thing. The Supreme Court has ruled on virtually identical cases – it is unlawful for public school personnel to lead or even join students in prayer on school property – PERIOD. See Borden v. School District of the Township of East Brunswick, which found schools may not even allow coaches to participate in, or appear to endorse, religious activity that is entirely student-initiated.

  • Steve Dustcircle

    Another public institution learning to obey the Law of the Land…not by conscience and common sense, but by force.

  • Robert

    School vouchers programs people soon will be able to make a better choise of schooling . HOPEFULY