College Football Coach Unfazed After Atheist Group Takes Issue With Social Media Posts

OXFORD, Miss. – The head football coach at the largest university in Mississippi continues to publish Bible verses and Christian messages on his personal Twitter account, even after a prominent professing atheist organization took issue with his posts and demanded that he stop promoting religion on social media.

Hugh Freeze is the head coach of the football team at the University of Mississippi, a position he has held for five years. An outspoken Christian, Freeze regularly takes to Twitter to share Bible verses or inspirational Christian messages with his 182,000 followers.

“Corporate worship is designed to keep us from ever taking the redeeming love and grace of our Lord for granted,” he posted on March 19.

“Since our standing with God is based not on our righteousness but on Christ’s, in moments of failure, we can run to Him and not from Him!” he wrote on March 6.

“It is only when the peace of God rules my heart that I can know real peace with others!!” he Tweeted on February 17.

Although Freeze’s Tweets receive hundreds of likes and shares, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) expressed opposition to his social media posts. In a recent news release, the group warned that the coach’s messages are potentially unconstitutional due to their “overtly religious” content.

“Though FFRF respects Freeze’s right to tweet as a private citizen, he may not promote his personal religious beliefs while acting in his capacity as a university employee,” FFRF said in the release.

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Sam Grover, a staff attorney for FFRF, further clarified the group’s objections to Freeze’s social media posts in a letter mailed to the University of Mississippi’s chancellor.

“Ole Miss violates [the Constitution’s Establishment Clause] when it promotes religious statements or allows its employees to promote their personal religious beliefs while acting in their official capacities,” Grover wrote.

In the letter, Grover argued that it is unconstitutional for the University of Mississippi to promote Freeze’s tweets or allow him to post religious messages while serving as head coach. Grover also expressed concern at the tweets of Maurice Harris, an offensive recruiting coordinator who is also a Christian.

“FFRF asks that the University of Mississippi take immediate action to ensure that Coach Freeze, Coach Harris, and the rest of the university’s athletic department are made aware that they cannot promote religion while acting as university employees,” Grover stated. “This prohibition on religious endorsement extends to social media passages.”

Freeze appears to be unfazed by FFRF’s warnings. Over the past two weeks, he has posted a number of additional Christian references on his Twitter account, including one that mentioned the “totally unmerited gift of grace thru sacrifice,” adding, “Thank you Jesus.”

Others argue that Freeze’s messages on Twitter are completely constitutional. In a statement to the Christian Post, Jeremy Dys of the First Liberty Institute said Freeze’s rights are protected by the First Amendment, no matter what his job position is.

“The First Amendment protects the right of Americans like Coach Freeze to engage in religious expression on their personal Twitter accounts,” Dys stated. “And our universities ought be places where tolerance, inclusivity, and diversity are promoted. The FFRF has resorted to intolerant bullying in an attempt to silence and censor Coach Freeze.”

“We encourage the University of Mississippi to ignore the FFRF’s letter.” Dys said.


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  • Shane Egan

    If he were Muslim and posting quotes from the Koran would you have a different attitude? Or if he were quoting atheists mocking the Christian mythology, would you be supportive or condemnatory?

    If your attitude is at all different depending upon the religious (or non-religious) messages he promotes, whilst garbed in the authority of his position, then you agree with the FFRF. They are simply asking for fairness for all beliefs.

    • Jason Todd

      If he were Muslim and posting quotes from the Koran would you have a different attitude?

      The FFRF wouldn’t be sending off a letter to his employer suggesting they tell him what he can and cannot say on his private Twitter account.

      That’s what this is all about, really. And the FFRF can take their blatant attempt to interfere with someone’s right to free speech and shove it.

      • DoorknobHead

        STAY EDUCATED ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO WRITE LETTERS — NO ISSUE
        > “FFRF wouldn’t be sending a letter…” That is untrue — but you and your millions of fellow faithists could always send a mass of letters instead — problem solved.

        SECTARIAN GOV’T: CUT OFF THE HEADS OF THOSE WITH DIFFERENT BELIEFS
        > The government does not have a right to free-speech when it comes to religion. An agent of the government is the government. Secular government is best for religious freedom. Government mixed with religion is good for the dominate religion to literally or figuratively “cut of the heads” of those with different beliefs, through discrimination and government supported suppression of other beliefs. Not good.

        • Jason Todd

          That is untrue

          Really? We have an Islamic prayer room for kids in Texas and Islam being taught to kids in other schools, with only crickets from the FFRF.

          The government does not have a right to free-speech when it comes to religion.

          LOLOLOL That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Where does it say people of faith have to give up that faith when they become employees of a government?

          Government mixed with religion is good for the dominate religion to literally or figuratively “cut of the heads” of those with different beliefs, through discrimination and government supported suppression of other beliefs.

          What?

          • Guzzman

            “People of faith” cannot use their government positions or authority to promote their personal religious beliefs. This is Basic Civics 101 – please educate yourself. The Establishment Clause means government is required to remain neutral toward religion. “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).

            A coach employed by a public university is an agent of government and must remain neutral on matters of religion when acting in his official capacity. Broadcasting religious messages to an official university web page plainly violates government neutrality toward religion.

          • DoorknobHead

            Texas: Private or public schools? Are all religions being represented with an equal chance of access to the prayer rooms, or just Islam? (Religion in public schools is an all-religion [no staff leading or worship also], or no-religion situation — I myself would prefer no-religion). Maybe there is a legal reason they have not done anything. Did you send a message to FFRF with all the pertinent details? Do you have a basic understanding of the law in question to determine the legality of the current situation? Even if FFRF is your personal great Satan, why not use them to your advantage, the enemy of my enemy is my friend in your case — they have to know about an issue before reacting to an issue.
            The government: I might have said it better if I said the government does not have the right to endorse religion, but I suspect you are not in a mental state that could accept interpretations that are vectored anywhere close to the direction of the Supreme Court in any event.
            What?: I get it. You do not understand why secular government is important for Freedom of Religion, which also includes the concept of Freedom From Religion. That is how some people have been programmed. Sometimes people require their system to become unstable, by not denying facts and engaging in critical thinking about their sources of belief, having their system crash to some extent, and then reboot with a new operating system and a new worldview before they are able to compute such important founding principles of freedom.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            “Really? We have an Islamic prayer room for kids in Texas and Islam being taught to kids in other schools, with only crickets from the FFRF.”

            No, we don’t. There is a school in Texas that unlocks an unused, otherwise-ordinary classroom so that Muslim students who wish to pray can do it in private and in peace. And yes, there are schools that teach Islam to kids in a neutral, non-coercive way. Learning about a religion no more makes you a member of that religion than a unit on the Holocaust turns you into a Nazi.

            “LOLOLOL That is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard. Where does it say people of faith have to give up that faith when they become employees of a government?”

            Nowhere, and no one said it did. You don’t have to “give up your faith” when you go to work for the government. You simply have to give up your right to profess that faith in your capacity as a government official. Once you go home from work in the evening, you are perfectly free to stand on a street corner with a bullhorn and a sandwich board shouting about Jesus to your heart’s content.

          • Copyleft

            Or, to put it more simply, “When you’re on the public’s nickel, you leave your pulpit at home. No preaching on government time.”

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Yes but I had to distinguish the “Islamic prayer room” from what was happening here.

    • William of Glynn

      Shane, you know good and well that so-called “religious freedom” applies only to Christians. /s

    • Sharon_at_home

      People don’t usually follow people unless they agree with the person posting.
      I wouldn’t be surprised if people of the Islamic faith regularly put their Koran verses into a tweet. And some of those are employees too. Besides it should have been something like a request by the school to use a different twitter account that isn’t associated with the University. There are many people with the same name so as long as he doesn’t mention the University.
      I’m tired of the number of times items show nothing about the 2 sides discussing possible solutions when there are differences, before doing court. Is it supposed to be taken for granted that they actually tried to work it out It’s a lot easier than a court battle. (at least we hope they can come to a compromise)

      The thing is you can’t be forced to follow anyone so I can agree with them posting religious verses from their holy book. I don’t have to see it.

  • Ambulance Chaser

    The Twitter handle is @CoachHughFreeze and the university is putting the tweets on their official athletics page website. It sounds like the university AND Coach Freeze are in violation.

    • Guzzman

      I agree – the very basis of this article is in error. The coach’s religious tweets are from an official university account and are being posted to an official university web page. As a government entity, the university and its employees are prohibited from promoting religion. This is a blatant, unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

    • Riverman

      In violation of what?

      • Ambulance Chaser

        The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, applied to the states by the Incorporation Doctrine of the 14th Amendment.

        • Riverman

          Hmmmm… didn’t realize CHF was a member of Congress making laws to establish a religion.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Again, THE 14TH AMENDMENT WHICH APPLIES THE RESTRICTIONS IN THE BILL OF RIGHTS TO THE STATES.

          • Riverman

            Again….. where is CHF making or enforcing a law on anyone…

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Nobody “passed any law,” nor do they have to. Constitutional prohibitions apply to any state action, and they have for hundreds of years.

            I can’t even begin to explain the history of State Action doctrine here, but I would recommend you read State Action and the Public Private Distinction in 2010’s Harvard Law Review.

          • Riverman

            LOL!!! Harvard has no credibility nor does any other Ivy League School.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Define “no credibility.”

          • Riverman

            Harvard was originally a religious school before liberals took it over.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            That doesn’t answer my question. What does “no credibility” mean?

          • Riverman

            Ivy League Schools promote diversity and tolerance but refuse to accept diversity and tolerance.. In other words if you don’t agree with us you are racists bigots etc….

          • MarkSebree

            Ivy League Schools are overwhelmingly private universities, and thus are not subject to the laws that limit public schools and universities, as well as their employees.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Okay, we’re getting off track. Are you alleging that the article I cited contains misinformation of some type?

          • Riverman

            My point is if a teacher, coach etc wants to pray with their students should be able to. With that being said if a student doesn’t want to participate should be forced to.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            And my point is, what you want is irrelevant. The Supreme Court has ruled on this issue repeatedly, and no teacher can take part in any way in a prayer with their students while acting as a teacher.

            As I’ve said many times, however, teachers can pray to their hearts’ content outside of school, in their own church, home, park, grocery store parking lot, on public-access TV, or on a street corner if they so desire. Is that not enough? (And before you answer, let me reiterate that your or my consent is irrelevant in this situation.)

          • Riverman

            And the Supreme Court is wrong in my opinion.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            You can believe whatever you want, you just can’t expect your beliefs to have any policy or legal implications.

          • Copyleft

            Maybe the idea needs to be rephrased: “Exactly WHICH government employees do you want preaching on the job, and WHICH religion should they be preaching?”

    • Copyleft

      Thanks for the clarification. Social media is a complicated issue, but no public school (or other government organization) can show religious favoritism in its dealings with the public. Religion is a private matter for individuals.

  • Sven

    How ironic. Masculine Christian guy vs a gaggle of effeminate atheists. Exhibit A, folks.

    • Amos Moses

      Millions Worldwide Cling To Faith That Jesus’s Resurrection Was Elaborate Hoax

    • Ambulance Chaser

      What evidence do you have that any of the atheists involved in this story (if there are any) are “effeminate?” And why does it matter?

      • Johndoe

        Sven obviously doesn’t know any atheists.

        • Amos Moses

          we are all born atheists ….. so i doubt it ………..

          • Johndoe

            It takes indoctrination to be a christian

          • Amos Moses

            No …. it takes the love of Christ to reveal himself to a person and grant them that and other gifts …… those in Christ are predestined to salvation …… they were selected from the foundation of the creation …… indoctrination does not make a person a christian ……….

          • Johndoe

            It’s a huge part of the process.

          • Sharon_at_home

            Indoctrination is basically just teaching – anything that
            has a course is using teaching.
            I’ve never heard of a church that uses repetition as it
            usually a different topic each week. They certainly don’t stand over them and force them to learn.
            I don’t know about other churches but I expect they are the
            same. I think Catholics have to go to additional classes as well I’ve been
            told.
            The children of our church enjoy the day at church just
            because they get to sing and colour pages showing some of the stories.
            Something I did as a child too.
            The youth in our church have made their own decisions about
            their belief and whether they want to continue. Some have left, true. Some have joined without knowing anyone else in the church. I looked for a church for years not knowing anything about Jesus (except his birth) and couldn’t find one that ‘fit’ me, until 8 years ago, and I’ll be a senior in the fall.
            It doesn’t take any more force to learn scripture than
            memorizing a poem in school.
            But remember most people only go on Sunday so they only
            learn once or twice a week depending on the church, unless they choose to read the bible themselves and learn from the source.
            It takes personal perseverance to be a Christian and a
            belief in Jesus. It doesn’t happen for everyone but for the people that do believe it does, or they would leave when life gets the hardest.
            God Bless!

          • Amos Moses

            No … it is not ….. it pretty much has no part of the process ……… Christ does not require our participation for Him to save us ………… that is the Omnipotent and Sovereign part of His nature …… kind of like your child standing in the street about to be hit by a car …… and you grab them by the scruff of the neck and pull as hard as you can ….. their desire to stay where they are has not one thing to do with their getting jerked out of the way ….. it wont look “loving” by any means ….. BUT IT IS …………

          • James Staten

            No, Actually it takes baptism into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit when one believes the Gospel…..1st Corinthians 15:1-4

    • A3Kr0n

      Ad hominem attack = false argument. Exhibit A folks.

  • Amos Moses

    Here Are 3 Totally Solid Reasons To Believe Jesus Came Back From The Dead, But I Don’t Believe Them Because I’m Not A Weak-Minded Moron

    1.) The tomb was empty.

    2.) He appeared to lots of people after his death.

    3.) Christianity totally exploded.

    • Jim Tully

      The Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot have appeared to a lot of people too. So, two good reasons.

      • Amos Moses

        if Christ is a hoax ….. then it should be easily provable ……. people have been trying that since His death ….. beginning with the Pharisees three days after …………..Good luck …………

        • Jim Tully

          I didn’t say that. I just pointed out the failure in reasoning of your point #2…….FAIL

          • Jim Tully

            What, no comeback? Must be disheartening when someone uses the rules of logic against you instead of the other way around.

            Crickets.

          • Sharon_at_home

            Jesus was a spirit when He came back. Big Foot and Nessy are not risen after death like Jesus was either. They appear to be living ‘animals’ rather than spirits.

      • Herb Planter

        loch ness and big foot and santa and w/e did not appear to lots of ppl and have never been proven to exist in the first place. ur strawman doesn’t hold.

    • Copyleft

      1) according to the story by the guy trying to sell you his beliefs.
      2) according to the story by the guy trying to sell you his beliefs.
      3) as many religions have done throughout history and around the world.

      • Amos Moses

        no selling required …… that would mean a believer has a choice in the matter ….. we do not ….. FAIL …………..

        • Copyleft

          If belief weren’t a choice, there would be no preaching. FAIL.

          • Amos Moses

            nope ….. preaching is not what convinces people ….. Christ does ….. FAIL ……….. you do not even know what makes a christian or how they become one …….. FAIL ………

          • Copyleft

            So you’re offering to stop preaching? Accepted with thanks. Buh-bye!

          • Sharon_at_home

            Do you think discussing religion on a religious site is “preaching”? Amos Moses tries to explain the biblical view on the things the comments are focusing on. I guess you don’t like to learn about the bible either. Maybe if you learned about the bible you might change your attitude towards other people’s beliefs.

            Either way, discussing it here is not preaching.

          • Amos Moses

            sort of is …. but it matters not to them …. thnx tho ………

          • Amos Moses

            see ya … would not want to be yuh ……..

          • Amos Moses

            i do not offer to stop preaching …… but you are CERTAINLY free to NOT LISTEN ….. and seek solace elsewhere …….. BUH-BYE ……

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Good!! No American should submit to atheists. Americans submit to God alone and taught mankind to do the same!! Freedom and democracy work only with Christians( and their mimickers)!!

    • Johndoe

      Atheists here are Americans.

    • DoorknobHead

      WHAT IS GRACE?
      > There you are. Did you ever talk to your religious leader so you could say what kind of Christian denomination you are? I’ve been waiting so long for an answer.

      ONCE AGAIN THE ATHEISTS ARE NOT AMERICANS ARGUMENT BY GRACE

      > You do not understand, and/or deny the fundamental principles of the Constitution of the United States of America, and the concept of liberty, justice and freedom for ALL. You have already said atheists are not Americans (in different posts directly and indirectly in this post), atheists are not even proper citizens. Your form of Christianity is the most scary and interesting (like a train wreck) I have ever encountered, whatever it is. I suppose you might think atheists are more like animals to be used as slaves or slaughtered however a Fundamentalists Sectarian Christian government deems proper. Sort of sounds like Islam’s take on Kaffirs (non believers), where non believers are to be slaughtered like animals if they don’t submit to the correct form of Islam (and this still happens today), while those of the book are to be enslaved, humiliated and their property and monies drained from them until they submit to Islam. Then again, if you take out the punctuation of the ten commandments, and end with the word neighbor (meaning the ten commandments only applies to those that believe and things such as theft and murder against non-believers is okay by god), then this one older interpretation of Christianity is very much like Islam.

  • Stupid Atheist

    Were Brother Freeze a devil-worshiper who’d spouted “Ave Satanis” via the university’s media, might his exercise of religious liberty have been similarly applauded by those same devout brethren and sistren who stand by him now…?

    • Copyleft

      Not if it were being promoted by a government institution, as in this case. Funny how many people seem to skip right past that aspect of these stories, isn’t it? Almost as if they believe they have a right to government-sponsored preaching.

  • William of Glynn

    I keep hearing how Christians in the U.S. are being silenced, but that doesn’t appear to be true.

    • Stinger

      Yeah, funny how you don’t hear from silent people.

    • InTheChurch

      The man is doing his thing and this worthless group is trying to stop him. That sounds like an attempt to silence him.

      • Ambulance Chaser

        Which he would be perfectly allowed to do on his private Twitter handle.

        • InTheChurch

          Does the coach have a personal and a school account?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            I don’t know, but Twitter accounts are free. He can get one if he wants to.

            And if, for some reason, he can’t/won’t/shan’t/is under some type of court order not to/for whatever reason isn’t going to, well, then that’s just tough. He STILL can’t use his state university Twitter account to promote religion. That just means he won’t be promoting religion on Twitter at all then.

          • InTheChurch

            If he is using the Universities account, then I can see the point. But if it’s his own, he can do what he likes. And that group can kick rocks.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            What do you define as “the university’s account?”

          • InTheChurch

            The head football coach at the largest university in Mississippi continues to publish Bible verses and Christian messages on his personal Twitter account….
            I just reread the article and the opening sentence answers our question. His personal account. he can say what he likes. The group can go away.
            As for University account, if the university has an account that talks about the whole school and not just football, then he can’t use that account. But again, pointless.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Did it ever occur to you that the article might be wrong?

            A) The account is named @CoachHughFreeze
            B) The school reposts his tweets on their website
            C) His profile picture is a picture of the school’s football stadium
            D) His top picture is himself in team colors, with a headset, coaching

            This is clearly his professional account.

          • InTheChurch

            Until you can prove that it is wrong, it’s right. I saw no proof from A-D.
            I might agree kinda with B but that’s a stretch.
            So where is your evidence of this being not right?

          • Ambulance Chaser

            I just told you. You can look up all of this yourself. The account is totally public. That’s where I found it.

          • Guzzman

            I just personally confirmed everything Ambulance Chaser stated. I went to the Ole Miss Sports official webpage, clicked on Hugh Freeze @ CoachHughFreeze where it says “The OfficIal Twitter Page of Coach Hugh Freeze.” Here is one of numerous religious messages:

            “April 13: For Christians, this is Super Bowl Weekend! Doesn’t get any bigger. Amazing, totally unmerited gift of grace thru sacrifice! Thank you Jesus.”

            The case law supports FFRF, government employees are prohibited from using their positions to promote their personal religious beliefs.

          • InTheChurch

            So what the coach needs to do is not be linked to the webpage and be on his own. Problem solved. He can still do his thing with no problems.

          • Guzzman

            Correct. Mr. Freeze has every right as a private citizen to set up a private Twitter account not tied to the University’s official webpage and tweet for Jesus. What he is prohibited by law from doing is using an official University account to post his personal religious beliefs to the official University sports webpage. Doing so gives the appearance that the University, a government institution, endorses Mr. Freeze’s religious messages.

          • Ambulance Chaser

            Yes, that would be perfectly legal.

          • Guzzman

            I personally confirmed the validity of your statements. Your investigative work is greatly appreciated. The coach’s religious messages are being posted to the official Ole Miss Sports webpage, in violation of the First and Fourteenth amendments to the Constitution.

          • Sharon_at_home

            The only thing that is different from others is the School reposts his tweets on their website. Anything else is redundant since people often put the picture of their school and people who are coaches often put pictures of themselves as their profile pictures.
            The ONLY thing that needs changing is the school website by removing his personal twitter account and possibly adding one for him with the university’s name included. Every university I’ve heard of gives everyone their own email with TheirName@University’s name. I wouldn’t be surprised if they use the same method for twitter accounts.

          • NCOriolesFan

            Apparently he does.

          • InTheChurch

            If it’s personal, he can tweet as many bible verses as he pleases. Atheist group can kick rocks.

  • InTheChurch

    I will add the coach to my Twitter feed. Ole Miss has a new fan from the west coast. Coach, stay strong, pray with your players like a father does with their kids and be an example to those kids.

  • Garden of Love

    History just repeats itself. Fanatics stage witch hunts and heresy hunts. If more people stood firm like this coach, these people would just melt away. They’ve gotten accustomed to getting their way and watching Christians cave in. Courage is the essential Christian virtue.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Americans should become Christian again because it is only the good thing to do on Planet Earth. Non-christians do not value life of one group or another. No exception.

    • tatoo

      I M an American who was never Christian, thank god.

      • mikegillespie

        No, just a lesbian who preys on young girls.

        • Chris

          Either back up that slander with evidence or apologize.

  • NCOriolesFan

    Not only ignore the FFRF but return to sender as well. The FFRF seems to have dismissed the messages are on the coach’s PERSONAL twitter account.

    Keep it up Coach. God stands with you.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Except they’re not, as I pointed out above. They’re on his official coach account.

  • poppyw

    The heathen disavow Christians having 1st Amendment rights, but this good coach can say anything he pleases, even on campus grounds. God bless him! I’m a Univ. of Texas graduate, an “orange blood,” “tea-sipper,” but if U.T. plays Mississippi in football, this Christian will be rooting for Coach Freeze and his team. U.T. has never been a friend to Christianity.

  • Herb Planter

    wooot Go Coach! God Bless and keep up the great work. 🙂

    • MarkSebree

      And coach, you might want to start looking for a new job. Universities usually do not appreciate their employees doing things that cost the school hundreds of thousands of dollars in avoidable legal fees, as well as widespread embarrassment.