A high school football coach ran afoul of a national atheist organization for leading his football team in prayers as well as plays – and the group got the prayers stopped.
Mooresville High School Coach Hal Capps was violating the Constitution, the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote in a letter to the Mooresville Graded School District. But his supporters didn’t see it that way, according to the Charlotte Observer.
“It is a violation of the Constitution for the Mooresville High School football coach to organize, lead, or participate in prayers or other religious proselytizing before, during, or after games and practices,” Freedom From Religion attorney Patrick Elliott, wrote.
“It is well settled that public schools, and by extension public school officials, may not advance or promote religion.”
The Observer also reported that the foundation had accused Capps of baptizing students, submitting a photo of him at what appeared to be a team baptism. But school Superintendent Mark Edwards said the Twitter photo was of a church baptism that Capps attended along with some Mooresville High Blue Devil players.
The Mooresville community took to Twitter to rally in the coach’s defense, saying:
I SUPPORT Coach Hal Capps! All you Athiest SOBs could use some prayer in your life!
— Layton Turner (@Tayton33) January 29, 2014
We support Mooresville coach Hal Capps and any other coaches who encourage post game prayers, we need more like them!
— Sideline Mike (@UcPreps) January 29, 2014
So does anyone know why the Freedom from Religion Foundation is upset about Capps, when they aren’t in the same state as us? #ISupportCapps
— Collin Crowel (@TheCollinCrowel) January 31, 2014
#ISupportCapps and he’s the best Coach I’ve ever had and I’m twice the guy and player I was when I came to Mooresville as a freshman.
— Dallas Jackson (@DallasJackson6) January 31, 2014
Besides, some wrote, it’s not like Capps was making anyone kneel down and pray.
He’s not forcing them into his beliefs, he’s INVITING. #ISupportCapps
— Carter (@CarterSullins) January 31, 2014
Well, he’s not inviting them anymore, so the Freedom From Religion folks should be happy.
One less coach praying should make Mooresville a much happier place.
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