Georgia Baseball Coach Resigns Following Complaint Over Bible Citation on Team Ball Caps

Effingham County, Georgia — A middle school baseball coach in Georgia recently resigned after a parent complained to the principal that he had a Bible verse citation embroidered on the team ball caps.

Kyle Houston serves as the physical education teacher at Ebenezer Middle School in Rincon. He also was the coach for the school’s baseball team — that is, until last Wednesday.

The situation began when an unnamed parent, whose child is on the team, became angered when her son came home with a ball cap that had “Phil. 4:13” engraved on the back. She contacted the school principal to lodge a complaint. She also called the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist activist organization that seeks to separate God and government.

“Our client was incredibly upset,” attorney Andrew Seidel told reporters.

The principal of the school then reportedly sought counsel from the Board of Education and correspondingly met with Houston about the issue.

However, before any action was taken, Houston decided to resign as coach.

“Just so there wouldn’t be any issues with someone not liking what I did,” he told television station WTOC. “I wasn’t fired as a teacher. I wasn’t asked to resign. I voluntarily did that because I didn’t want it to hurt or interfere with the kids or things that were going on.”

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“Of course I let the kids down, because I was looking forward to coaching the season,” he continued. “It’s a let down, but it was something that needed to be done.”

Houston said that it was the students’ idea to embroider the Scripture on their hat. According to reports, three eighth grade students approached him about the concept, and the coach thought it was a great idea.

“Everybody on the team said that’s what they wanted to do,” Houston said.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, however, contends that the caps are not permitted under the law.

“The law is very clear on this,” Seidel stated. “They can take their children to church. They can send their children to Sunday school, but it is not something that belongs in a public school.”

Houston is taking full responsibility for the matter, as believes that he should have discussed the issue with the principal before moving forwarding with having the caps embroidered.

“I appreciate everything everyone has said, supporting the Philippians 4:13, but it was something where I overstepped my bounds, not doing what I was supposed to,” he commented. “I have to follow protocol. I violated that. It wasn’t my intention. My intention was to encourage the kids.”

Nonetheless, FFRF isn’t stopping at Houston’s resignation. It has reportedly been in talks with the Effingham School District about ensuring that church and state remain separated at the schools within its jurisdiction, as Seidel states that the upset mother was also angered by word that Houston had been praying with the team.

“In both cases, those are unconstitutional,” he asserted. “That’s imposing your beliefs on everyone on that team.”

However, now the public seems to be troubled over the entire ordeal as much discussion erupted on Facebook in wondering what happened to Coach Houston and why he no longer is coaching for the team.

He remains a physical education teacher at Ebenezer Middle School.

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  • Mike

    I wonder if the team understands the verse. It’s not about Jesus helping you to be a good ball player. It’s about being content winning or losing through His strength.

  • Dod Danks

    If this kid is playing baseball or any other kind of sports he should
    have the right to pick his own religion… Not knowing what the mother
    believes in (If Anything) she may be pushing her child in the wrong
    direction. He has a joice as to have his own beliefs come Hell or High Water…

  • The Islam religion is being activetly taught in public schools. There are reports now that Texas students were made to wear Muslim burqas as part of their public school lessons. (Read more at

    Where is the The Freedom From Religion Foundation? Why aren’t they in an uproar about the religion of Islam being taught in Government schools? They seem to be ignoring this issue. They are not really for freedom from religion, they are for freedom from Christianity. Its not religion they hate, its Christ they hate. I am remided of the atheists’ motto: “There is no God, and I hate Him.”

  • Jim Beatty

    The problem in this country started to get really bad when God was taken out of the schools among the Pledge of Allegiance and taking the 10 Commandments away. These are things we have to be morally sound .Do you think the Kids are ignorant and now we have problems in almost every public school system in the United States all because of a few let them go somewhere else if they don’t like it here.

  • Betty

    if the atheist say their is no GOD. how can they hate him? you can’t hate something that does not exist can you? just asking. to me they serve satan but does not believe they do. does this make sense to any one?

    • shauna

      Of course it does. But then anyone who doesn’t serve God is either unintentionally or intentionally serving Satan because they are doing exactly what he wants them to do. Not serving God.

  • Marla

    I am a very conservative evangelical Christian. However, public schools should not embroider Bible verses on their team baseball caps. If I were Jewish, I would not want a Christian verse on my child’s cap. If the child wished to do that himself, he could have his parents embroider it on his cap for him. That is the proper way to go about it. This angry mother, on the other hand, is possibly just another angry atheist. That crowd is basically trying to force THEIR beliefs on the rest of us. There are valid freedom of speech issues that the atheist crowd frequently violates. WHOSE freedom of speech is being violated is always the question we should ask in every situation. It would have been better if the children were offered a list of things to be embroidered on their hats, and a Bible verse could have been one of the options. Just a little bit of discernment goes a long way.