Football Coaches at Pennsylvania School Told to Stop Praying With Players Following Complaint

danville-compressedDANVILLE, Pa. — Football coaches at a school in north central Pennsylvania have been instructed to stop joining in pre-game prayers with players after a prominent professing atheist group recently contacted the school district to complaint about the practice.

According to reports, a resident of Danville contacted the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) to advise that coaches and players at Danville High School had been praying and singing praise songs together prior to football games. A video had circulated on social media showing the team singing the Rich Mullins tune “Awesome God.”

“This tradition of Christian prayer and worship songs reinforces the otherness of students like my children who are non-Christian,” another parent, Shakil Afridi, told the Sunbury Daily Item. “My friends who tend to be non-Christian or progressive Christians and some social justice Catholics are disgusted by this.”

FFRF sent a letter to Superintendent Cheryl Latorre to request that an investigation be conducted and that the matter be rectified.

“As you may be aware, it is illegal for public school athletic coaches to organize or participate in prayer with their teams,” the organization wrote. “We write to ensure that the district does not allow its coaches to proselytize students or to promote their personal religious beliefs in the future.”

As a result, Latorre has instructed coaches not to join the students in any prayer or worship, pointing to case law.

“Prayer can occur in a public school if it is student-driven and that our coaches are not to participate in any way,” she told local television station WNEP. “We’ve instituted the case law. We’ve made sure this isn’t happening.”

  • Connect with Christian News

However, some are concerned about the development and believe that the coaches should have been left alone as participation was voluntary for both players and coaches.

“This is something so simple and heartfelt, but it was blown out of proportion,” parent Kristie Hilkert, whose son plays on the team, told reporters. “We 100 percent support the team prayer. No kid was forced to do it. It is such a special bond between these boys.”

“It is okay because they’re not seeing it as a religious thing, but as a family and unity thing,” stated parent Sherry Cooper, who also has a son on the team. “It’s bonding with their family. My son told me the coaches told the boys they don’t have to participate.”

Luke Watkins, a youth pastor at Danville First Baptist Church, told the Sunbury Daily Item that a number of members of the football team, as well as cheerleaders, go to the church the morning of a game to pray.

But FFRF says these aspects are irrelevant.

“It doesn’t matter if the prayer is voluntary or not,” FFRF attorney Sam Grover stated. “It is inappropriate to use a government position in that manner.”

As previously reported, last month, FFRF had also convinced another Pennsylvania school district to stop a coach from praying with players prior to games. Dunmore High School Head Coach Jack Henzes, a Roman Catholic, was instructed to immediately discontinue the practice.

“We directed Coach Henzes to be sure that he should not partake in any such behavior,” Superintendent John 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.”

Noah Webster, known as the Father of American Scholarship and Education, is stated to have once said, “[A]ny 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.


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, because of your generous support, we have received enough funds to send many audio Bibles to Iraqi and Syrian refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East. Many have been distributed and received with gladness. While we provide for the physical needs of the people, we seek to provide the eternal hope only found in Jesus Christ through the word of God. Would you join us by making a donation today to this important work? Please click here to send an audio Bible to a refugee family >>

Print Friendly
  • Amos Moses

    Reports from around the nation Thursday indicate that millions of American citizens were still reeling from the revelation that a prominent Christian couple holds a historically Christian position.

    “We’re not saying people can’t be Christians,” a Seattle woman said in a Facebook comment. “This is a free country, after all. But when Christians decide to actually have Christian beliefs about things—I’m sorry, that’s just too far.”

    A man in Denver agreed, stating that he prided himself on his deep appreciation of and support for freedom of beliefs and religious tolerance, “so long as Christians don’t publicly hold opinions I find disagreeable.”

    “It’s almost as if they take the Bible seriously or something,” he added, shaking his head.

    This revelation comes on the heels of a national Gallup poll released earlier this week indicating that over 95% of Americans agreed with the statement, “Christians are allowed to practice their beliefs, as long as everyone agrees with them.”

    • Trilemma

      Clearly, the FFRF wants Christians to be seen and not heard.

      • Achy Breaky Dance

        Let them push. We’ve outlasted tougher enemies than them. They’re just a gaggle of angry, bitter little losers with too much time on their hands.

  • Emmanuel

    Keep praying coaches.

    • tatoo

      Yes, the FFRF coffers need more money.

      • TwoRutRoad

        That’s why I’ve increased my donation by over 300%. I wish I could give more.

        • Radix

          Send them your food stamps.

          • johndoe

            As soon as you skirt your trailer

    • DoorknobHead

      Emmanuel, you forgot the last part of your sentence. “….while not acting as a governmental official”. Your kindly welcome in advance.

  • 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. 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.

    • Kevin Quillen

      courts can be and are often wrong.

  • Guest254

    Atheist don’t believe that there is a God and Christian believe and God and His Son Jesus. Either way both believe(something). So why should they be able to even motion something that don’t believe in. If think God isn’t real, then let the Christians keep praying.

    • Lexical Cannibal

      You probably don’t believe that my gods are real, can I pray to them with your kids?

      It’ll be totally voluntary obviously, and I won’t give any direct pressure to join, though I can’t help any peer pressure they might feel from seeing their fellow students give offering to Tyr with me, nor the fact that I’ll likely get to know the other students better for partaking in this religious exercise with me, which may result in some real or imagined preferential treatment, simply because we became closer through a thing that your kids feel ethically compelled to not join. I’m sure that’s not going to create any conflicts of interest or unnecessary feelings of exclusion that makes your child feel like they have to choose between their beliefs and their ability to enjoy whatever sport I got conned into coaching.

      • Guzzman

        You provide an excellent example of why it is unlawful for public school personel to lead or even join students in prayer on school property. Coaches wield tremendous power over students. If a coach is acting like a pastor, students feel compelled to join in whether or not it’s “voluntary.”

        • Guest254

          Do you understand a coached role in their players life? It’s more than just a sport. They have to make sure that theit team and players are healthy in all aspects.

          • Guzzman

            This is a public school, an arm of government, not a private religious academy. Government cannot involve itself in religious matters. Religious instruction is the job of parents, and churches, and private schools, not government.

            The Supreme Court has made clear that “the touchstone of the Establishment Clause is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” [McCreary County v. ACLU], 545 U.S. 844, 860 (2005).

          • Guest254

            Why not? It’s a major part in the foundation of America and constitution. If it’s a freedom, it should be done anywhere. If you don’t believe, what’s it to you? It shouldn’t make or break you whether they pray or not, if it isn’t something you do.

          • Guzzman

            Why can’t government get involved in religious matters? Because there’s this wonderful thing called the Constitution. Government, which acts through its employees, has no religious rights. It has limited, enumerated powers, none of which grant it any authority over religious matters. A government employee such as a public school coach, cannot promote, endorse, or engage in religious activity while acting in an official capacity. It is settled law. See Borden v. School District of the Township of East Brunswick.

            The coach is free to practice his religion to his heart’s content off the job, as a private citizen.

          • Guest254

            Each state local govt have different policies. Every school doesn’t fall under the federal government.

            The prayer is for the team. Each individual can pray to whomever in their own heart. If they don’t believe it shouldn’t matter. Prayer in schools have been going on since the foundation.
            All of a sudden loopholes are being found.
            Sign a petition and the govt has to act.
            At the end of the day everyone believes in something. Believing children have to sit through science class and be taught scientology and evolution but they don’t make a fuss, they just allow you to believe what you believe.
            And the wonderful things called the Constitution is constantly being change to fit the needs of those who support the causes financially.

          • Guzzman

            Public schools are government entities, and such entities are subject to the U.S. Constitution. The courts have ruled consistently and repeatedly that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment prohibits government from endorsing, promoting, or advancing religion. School personnel are agents of government, so they cannot lawfully lead or participate in the religious activities of students.

            Students have always been free to pray at school or engage in religious activity as long as it does not interfere or disrupt school programs, events, or instructional time.

          • Guest254

            All of what you stated is incorrect. Thats not what the 1st ammendment states. The clause was to protect a centralized religion, as the King of England had done, thus the seperation of church and state was added.

            There is no law being broken.

            Lastly, would praying before and after a game interfere or disrupt a school event? Prayer for teams are normally done in the locker room or privately on the field when there aren’t on lookers.

          • Guzzman

            So the Supreme Court rulings I’ve summarized and quoted saying government must be neutral towards religion are all “incorrect”? I’m sorry I wasted your time with the facts.

            Nevertheless, the legal reality is public schools cannot lawfully be in the business of promoting or endorsing religious beliefs. Parents, not school officials, are responsible for overseeing a young person’s religious upbringing. The religious neutrality of public education is a well-established principle. In fact, most parents would demand these basic rights.

          • Guest254

            You stated snippets, not the whole clause or amendment. And those snippets were to prove your idea.

            Is it endorsing a religion or a specific belief is the question?

            The ammendment says it won’t prohibit the excerising therof. So government can’t intervene and it is just some we the people would have to teach your own children to ignore or to participate.

            Or go to a place that have the laws youre looking for

          • Guzzman

            The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is what is relevant in this case because we have government (a public school employee) entangling itself in a religious exercise, and that is prohibited by the Establishment Clause. Supreme Court in McCreary County v. ACLU : “The touchstone of the Establishment Clause is the principle that the First Amendment mandates government neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.”

            How is the coach, a government employee acting in his official capacity, maintaining religious neutrality by participating in religious activities with students? Do you not see how that violates the rights of the students who don’t share the religious beliefs of their coach? The coach is in effect telling those students that the school endorses the coach’s religion over theirs. Those students are made to feel like outsiders in their own school. That is why the courts have been very vigilant about keeping public education religiously neutral.

            There truly is no legal controversy here. This has been settled law now for many decades.

          • Guest254

            A school is employee is not a federal government employee. That clause means that the federal government would not get involved and us as a people could have the freedom to practice whenever, however. Maybe that kid shouldn’t be a part of that coaches team. After all it is the coaches decision on who makes the cut and coaches consider ALL aspects of health and welfare.

          • Guzzman

            The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment constrains government at all levels – Federal as well as states and their subdivisions. The coach must abide by the Establishment Clause by virtue of being an employee of a government institution. That was the whole point of the article and the basis for the school district instructing “coaches not to join the students in any prayer or worship, pointing to case law.”

            So you are recommending that the coach cut any student from the team who does not share his particular religious beliefs. You see, that is the reason the courts have been so vigilant about keeping public education religiously neutral, to prevent the abuse of authority you so casually advocate.

          • Guest254

            The Establishment Clause is not of the First Ammendment, but the prohibiting the establishment of religion. This Clause was to prevent a One Nation Religion. That the national government would not interfere with religion. You’re version contradicts freedom of religion.
            That second part, I never said. Most school coach position are a volunteer position. Although some may be teachers but most schools are volunteer coaches unless the local district can afford a specialty coach.

            Well maybe the government should pay a stipend to those with religious beliefs that they may attend a private school that allows prayer.

          • Guzzman

            There are two religious clauses embedded in the First Amendment – the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. The Establishment Clause is brought to bear when government entangles itself in promoting or endorsing religion. The school district applied Establishment Clause case law as its basis for instructing the coach, a government employee, to refrain from leading or joining in prayer or worship activities with the students.

            You wrote this in reference to any student who does not share the coach’s religious belief: “Maybe that kid shouldn’t be a part of that coaches team. After all it is the coaches decision on who makes the cut and coaches consider ALL aspects of health and welfare.” That plainly implies such a player should be cut from the team, and that would be blatantly unconstitutional.

          • Guest254

            The Establishment Clause is not that the government should endorse but institute or dictate a religion. This was instituted so that The United States would not end up with a one world religion such as England. Non government inference in any religion whether you believe or not. Schools are not teaching religion or endorings. They are suppose to allow those who have a preference to practice as their religion is observed.

            I didn’t say the coaches cut the kids, I said the coaches decide what makes the cut, the coach then becomes responsible for the health a welfare of that child’s life. Being as though sports result in high injuries and stress.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “The Establishment Clause is not that the government should endorse but institute or dictate a religion.” The scope of the Establishment Clause is much broader than you claim. It goes way beyond prohibiting government from setting up a national church or mandating an official state religion.

            The federal courts have utilized a three-pronged framework first set forth in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), to maintain the separation of government and religion. Under the so-called “Lemon test,” a court must inquire (1) whether the government’s action has a secular or a religious purpose; (2) whether the primary effect of the government’s action is to advance or endorse religion; and (3) whether the government’s policy or practice fosters an excessive entanglement between government and religion. In recent years, the Supreme Court has also frequently asked whether the challenged governmental action constitutes an impermissible “endorsement” of religion. See, e.g., Allegheny, 492 U.S. at 592 (inquiry is whether the government “convey[s] or attempt[s] to convey a message that religion or a particular religious belief is favored or preferred”); id. at 592-94; School District of the City of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 390 (1985)(“[A]n important concern of the effects test is whether the symbolic union of church and state effected by the challenged governmental action is sufficiently likely to be perceived by adherents … as an endorsement, and by nonadherents as a disapproval, of their individual religious choices”).

            So you see, the Establishment Clause prohibits government from not just establishing or dictating an official state religion, but also from endorsing, favoring, advancing, or promoting any specific religious belief.

          • Guest254

            This is so that the government would not establish and one nation one country mandated religion. This is why we have freedom of religion. It has nothing to do with personal beliefs or non beliefs.
            People look for loopholes because schools are part of a local government, funded by local taxes.

            A one nation one country religion would make us to only be able to partake in that country’s religion.

            If you don’t won’t what the constitution states there are countries out there that have what you are looking for.

            Allowing people to worship freely in school is not government endorsement but government allowing the people the freedom given.

          • 98C3LCMT9Y4

            And your background in Constitutional law would be when and from where?

          • 98C3LCMT9Y4

            Actually the Constitution is NOT constantly being changed.

            The 27th amendment eventually became part of the United States Constitution on May 5, 1992, completing a record-setting ratification period of 202 years, 7 months, and 10 days.

            The amendment related to the unconstitutional acts by schools is the 1st Amendment which has been around since December 15, 1791 – and even you should be educated enough to realize that date is hardly “a constantly changing date.”

          • Kevin Quillen

            guest; liberals are too stupid to research and learn that the Capitol was actually used as a church in early America. George Washington installed Chaplains in the military. Separation….nah.

          • Guzzman

            It is no secret that the newly constructed House chamber was used for various social functions, including religious services, card games, gambling, and concerts circa 1800. The House chaplains suggested it as an accommodation for the fact that there were no churches or other suitable buildings available when the Federal government moved to the fledgling District of Columbia. The situation was dire – one congregation was using an abandoned tobacco barn to hold services. Congress did not vote on this temporary arrangement, and Jefferson played no role in its approval. How could he? He was in the Executive Branch, and because of separation of powers, had no say over how the House chose to use its own offices.

            Jefferson and Madison did in fact interpret the religious clauses of the First Amendment to call for a separation between religion and government. They both said as much. You misconstrue what that principle entails in practice. For example, you seem to think that making an otherwise empty House chamber temporarily available for various functions at a time when D.C. had no suitable buildings was somehow a breach of that principle. And yes, Jefferson, and later Madison, did attend some of these functions as private citizens. But a private action (even of a government official) is in no way an “official” act supported or endorsed by government.

            Once churches and other private establishments were completed, this exceptional, but temporary accommodation did eventually cease.

          • 98C3LCMT9Y4

            No school child should be subjected to proselytizing adults other than their parents and NEVER AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL or A FUNCTION AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL.

      • Guest254

        My kids covered by the blood of Jesus, do what you feel

    • Kevin Quillen

      I do not believe in atheists. They know down deep God exists. They just choose to ignore Him so they do not have to live up to their Creators expectations. They are basically cowards.

  • Guest254

    I know there is a scripture that says Rocks! Fall on us! Enough said

  • Kevin Quillen

    “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibit the free exercise thereof”. Did Congress make a law? NO Can the free exercise of ones religion be prohibited? NO! keep praying coach. No Christian should ever knuckle under to unjust laws or rules.

    • Guzzman

      You neglected to consider the 14th Amendment. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was added to the U.S. Constitution, and it prohibited states from denying people “liberty” without “due process.” Since then, as cases arose, the U.S. Supreme Court used the 14th Amendment to apply most of the Bill of Rights (including the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause) to all levels of government, extending it well beyond the U.S. Federal Government.

      As a result, no government entity at any level can lawfully promote, advance, or endorse religion. You also neglected to consider case law. 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. 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.

      • Kevin Quillen

        you missed the point……the government, at all levels, cannot prohibit the free exercise of religion. Period. So I guess you believe that a court ruling is infallible? So bud, the courts are wrong on this issue. I can and will exercise my religion anywhere, anytime. I guess you agree with the Dred Scott decision? It was settled law. Would you have argued in favor of it? According to your answer you would have.

        • Guzzman

          The coach is an employee of a public school, a government institution, and thus is an agent of government when performing his job. Government is mandated by the Constitution to remain neutral on religious matters. Therefore, it is unlawful for the coach or any school personnel to lead or even join students in prayer while acting in an official capacity.

          It is the law. Your opinion as to whether it is valid is completely irrelevant.

          • Kevin Quillen

            typical liberal…. get busted with a question you cannot answer so ignore it. Would you have supported Dred Scott decision? After all, a court decided it.

          • Guzzman

            Did anyone ever claim the Supreme Court is infallible? There is no choice but for lower courts to follow Supreme Court pronouncements even if they think they are wrongly decided, as occurred with the Dred Scott decision. Bad decisions have to be followed until the Court itself overturns them or states amend the Constitution.

            The Supreme Court can certainly overrule itself and it has done so before on issues such as slavery, inter-racial marriage, sexual conduct, and women’s rights. There are practical constraints on overruling decisions. A very detailed analysis of what is referred to as stare decisis is contained in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The court outlined four factors to be considered in making the decision to overrule itself: the workability of the rule, the extent to which the public has relied on the rule, relevant changes in legal doctrine, and changes in facts or perceptions of facts.

            Just because the Court has overruled itself in the past does not in any way imply that it will do so in the area of Establishment Clause jurisprudence. The Court has consistently and repeatedly ruled that government must remain neutral on religious matters. As it stands, that is the law and lower courts must follow it until the Court overrules itself (extremely unlikely based on stare decisis) or else states amend the Constitution (even less likely because all state constitutions have some form of separation of religion and government embedded in them).

          • Kevin Quillen

            so it seems you would have supported Dred Scott decision. Not man enough to stand for right even though court says otherwise.

          • Guzzman

            I support the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law. There is no shame in that. The Constitution has self-correcting mechanisms to deal with bad decisions and the Supreme Court has developed guidelines for maintaining consistency, and for overruling itself if need be. Pretty good system, I would say.

          • Kevin Quillen

            typical lib. so the answer is that you would have supported Dred Scott.
            therefore you admit that you support obvious wrong because the law says so. This is the difference between you and me. I stand for truth and right consequences be damned. Rugged individualism. Built this nation. Gave you the freedom to be a wishy washy lib.

          • Guzzman

            I am not a liberal or a progressive or even a Democrat. That’s your first mistake. Secondly, I never said I supported Dred Scott, I said I supported our Constitution which makes the Supreme Court the highest tribunal in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of the United States. If the Court makes what I think is a bad decision, I don’t ignore the deny the decision, I go about trying to change that outcome by working within our system of law.

            Finally, this article was about a constitutional violation committed by a government employee, a coach at a public school. Government is required by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to remain neutral on matters of religion. Or as the Supreme Court has stated in numerous cases, “The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion.” Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 104 (1968); Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, 330 U.S. 1, 15—16 (1947); Wallace v. Jaffree, supra, at 53.

            Just because the Supreme Court has made decisions that you do not agree with does not mean those decisions can be ignored or dismissed. The school superintendent reviewed the case law and determined that the coach was violating the Constitution by participating in religious exercises with the students. The coach decided to comply with the law. Your contention that following the law is a liberal versus conservative issue is erroneous and irrelevant.

          • James Stewart

            “Just because the Supreme Court has made decisions you do not agree with does not mean those decisions can be ignored or dismissed.”

            If SCOTUS is violating the Bill of Rights, you had better ignore those decisions.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Shall I add you to the growing list of CNN users who are unable to distinguish the difference between simple acknowledgement that something exists and supporting that thing?

            By your logic, I would have to choose between either denying the Holocaust or being a Nazi.

      • Guest254

        Is praying a criminal act?

        • Guzzman

          No one made any such claim that praying is a “criminal act.” When government gets involved in promoting religious activity, prayer can be unconstitutional, depending on the facts of the case.

          The coach is an employee of a public school, a government institution, and thus is an agent of government when performing his job. Government is mandated by the Constitution to remain neutral on religious matters. Therefore, it is unlawful for the coach or any school personnel to lead or join students in prayer while acting in an official capacity.

          • Guest254

            A coach is not a governmental job or position or agent.
            The way you state this, every business or person is the US belong to the government because the government regulates every business with by laws. Every business. And to say what you are stating, if you are under governments bylaws that means you’re a government employees.

            Not so, there is a difference between a government and civilian job and coaches are not even trained in the such.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “A coach is not a governmental job or position or agent.” Public high school coaches are employed by local schools. Public schools are typically operated by state or county governments. That would make these coaches government employees. That is why the school district directed the coach in this case to stop praying with the students because to do so is unconstitutional.

            School Superintendent Cheryl Latorre said “Prayer can occur in a public school if it is student-driven and that our coaches are not to participate in any way. We’ve instituted the case law. We’ve made sure this isn’t happening.”

            Did you read the article? You do not seem to have even a basic grasp of the facts in the case.

          • Guest254

            The federal government and local governments are separate entities. As a former federal employee, I would know what jobs or positions would add to my retirement. Trying to define them as a government?
            Again the 1st ammendment was established so that the government would not implement a religion or religions, thus giving America freedom of religion. So that the government would not tell the people who or what to serve or worship. By finding loops holes and word play to say that a coach is a part of the government party means that the coaches are government officials. However they are civil servants under a local government, not government officials or policy makers.
            Do you know that the US government allow prayer in the military? Not a question asked because, those who don’t believe don’t care.
            Some people just want a reason to complain.
            The song was Awesome God, so whichever God is in their hearts those kids could have dedicated their hearts to whom they serve at the time.
            Coaches are to monitor what’s being done with their team. Now if that coach just happen to follow what’s being prayed or sung and He or She gets moved to express themselves, I don’t blame them.

          • Guzzman

            You wrote, “The federal government and local governments are separate entities.” Well no duh! What does that have to do with anything? The FIrst Amendment’s Establishment Clause prohibiting government promotion of religion applies to federal and local government. How many times do I have to state that? How many Supreme Court cases do I have to cite until you finally acknowledge the glaringly obvious fact that the coach, an employee of a government institution, otherwise known as a public school, cannot lead or join in prayers or other religious activities with students.

            The courts have ruled it is unconstitutional. The School Superintendent, who handles employee discipline issues for the school district has instructed the coach to stop praying with the students because it is unconstitutional.

            What part of this don’t you get?

          • Guest254

            The superintendent imposed their personal beliefs on the decision. A coach is not a government official.

            The Establishment Clause was written so that the Federal/National government would not impose a ONE Religion.

            More word play to make the issue personal. I’m sure this will be overturned one day

          • Guzzman

            School Superintendent Cheryl Latorre did not impose her religious beliefs on anyone. Did you read the article? The school superintendent reprimanded the coach for violating the Constitution. Do you have a reading problem?

            Also, the Establishment Clause goes way beyond preventing government from imposing a single religion. In Establishment Clause cases, the Supreme Court asks whether the challenged governmental action constitutes an impermissible “ENDORSEMENT” of religion. See, e.g., Allegheny, 492 U.S. at 592 (inquiry is whether the government “convey[s] or attempt[s] to convey a message that religion or a particular religious belief is favored or preferred”); id. at 592-94; School District of the City of Grand Rapids v. Ball, 473 U.S. 373, 390 (1985)(“[A]n important concern of the effects test is whether the symbolic union of church and state effected by the challenged governmental action is sufficiently likely to be perceived by adherents … as an ENDORSEMENT, and by nonadherents as a disapproval, of their individual religious choices”).

            Seriously, do you suffer from a reading problem?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            He can read just fine. The problem is he doesn’t believe what’s written because he doesn’t want to.

            Hence, he’ll make up a different reality, one that he likes better, and believe that instead.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    Another case that needs to be taken all the way to the top. The God-haters who’ve been attempting to silence Christians and snuff out the Light for years are about to have a BIG fall. New Federal Court appointees and a new justice on SCOTUS that is Scalia-like will set a whole new precedent for years to come.

  • Guest254

    These parents are afraid that their children will come home believin in Jesus. Jesus said that homes will be at variance (paraphrase). But none the less, as in the days of Noah….

  • Guest254

    The constitution does not deny the freedom of religion whether it be public or private and the separation of church and state was to protect both the government and church from having ONE religion. A government instituted religion would mean that the government would have to regulate the bylaws. So with that being said America doesn’t deny any believer or non-believer to pray or worship whom they serve. If you believe in Jesus you’re a non-believer to any other and vice versa.

    Prayer in schools or public places is a matter of personal belief. It shouldn’t be denied. Those who oppose can just simply ignore or move to a country with the rules that they are looking for.

    Yes, I am for prayer and Yes most definitely for Jesus!!!

    • Kevin Quillen

      well said. stand tall for Jesus!

  • Idaho Bob

    “As you may be aware, it is illegal for public school athletic coaches to organize or participate in prayer with their teams”, please produce the legislation that has criminalized this activity.

    • Guzzman

      The Supreme Court has issued several decisions on school-sponsored prayer going back to the early 1960s. The general finding has been that public school employees cannot sponsor, promote, endorse, lead, or engage in religious activity with students while acting in an official capacity. See Borden v. School District of the Township of East Brunswick.

      The coach is free to practice his religion to his heart’s content off the job, as a private citizen.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      The Establishment Clause and the Privileges and Immunities Clause.