PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A prominent professing atheist group is calling for the termination of a Florida football coach for sharing Christ with students on his football team.
The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter on Tuesday to Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt to complain about Mosley High School football coach Jeremy Brown, who was recently featured in a news report called “Mosley Coach and Students Talk God and the Gridiron.”
“It’s got to be sharing Christ with kids,” Brown told WJHG-TV. “It’s got to be creating an environment where they can be successful. I’m in the business of earning crowns and not rings. If every kid on our football team is saved, then I’ve been successful as a coach.”
Team members also shared during the segment how Brown helps them remember that life is about more than football.
“Well, I never really had a coach tell me about Christ or anything like that,” player Ben Raybon told the outlet. “We pray every day before and after practice so he helped me kind of get closer to Christ and give the glory to Him.”
But FFRF asserts that the Constitution bans public school coaches like Brown from sharing his faith with students.
“School staff, including coaches, may not promote their personal religious views to students, who are a vulnerable, captive audience, with no choice but to listen to Brown’s religious ramblings,” staff attorney Andrew Seidel wrote to Superintendent Husfelt.
He then called for Brown to be fired, “or at the very least” sanctioned and monitored.
“Coach Brown has knowingly and willfully abused the power of his public office to try and convert other people’s children to his religion,” he said. “He is not fit to work in a public school system.”
FFRF has sent letters to the district in the past to complain about allowing Christianity to be encouraged on campus, including permitting Gideons International to distribute Bibles and allegedly inviting local pastors to share Christ with students.
Bay District Schools ignored the letters received from the group in the past. It is not known whether it plans to respond to FFRF’s latest correspondence.
“Practical truths in religion, in morals, and in all civil and social concerns ought to be among the first and most prominent objects of instruction,” Noah Webster, who penned the nation’s first dictionary, wrote in 1839. “Without a competent knowledge of legal and social rights and duties, persons are often liable to suffer in property or reputation, by neglect or mistakes.”
“Without religious and moral principles deeply impressed on the mind, and controlling the whole conduct, science and literature will not make men what the laws of God require them to be,” he continued. “And without both kinds of knowledge, citizens cannot enjoy the blessings which they seek, and which a strict conformity to rules of duty will enable them to obtain.”