Florida: Atheists Ban Religion in Football
- By Alison Lesley --
- 10 Sep 2014 --
Atheists have moved to ban prayers, chaplains, and religious words and symbols from football in high schools.
The nontheistic organization Freedom From Religion Foundation is a group determined to eliminate religion in the public sphere to fortify the separation between church and state because, according to their website, the most moral and social progress has been conducted by those not involved with it. In a move to continue this effort, they recently filed a lawsuit against a Florida school district for prohibiting the distribution of atheist material, which forced the removal of these rules against such literature. Recently, they took another step by forcing the removal of religion from the school football program.
The Role of Christianity In Football
The football team of Apopka High School in Orange County, FL, previously used a team chaplain, school staff participation in student-led prayer, religious music in highlight videos, and Bible verses on team apparel and banners. After the intervention of FFRF, Orange County Public Schools agreed that this behavior is completely against the law established by the Constitution. The school district has responded by telling schools they cannot partake in such activities to maintain accordance with the public education regulations.
However, the role of the church in the football and general school program has been quite clear. A local church, The Venue, has helped raise over $30,000 for the students to improve their education. Considering almost one-half of the school is considered economically disadvantaged, they also take strides to provide meals and transportation for those in need.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has no problems with students leading prayer themselves, however, it is illegal for a coach, chaplain, or the school itself to lead the prayer.