FFRF Opposes Mass Baptism at Georgia High School

Video of a mass baptism at a Georgia high school goes viral after its posted to Facebook.

Heritage High School in Georgia has landed in controversy after the school's football coach held a baptism ceremony on the premises. The baptism has drawn the criticism of people who are opposed to the showing of religious affiliations in school, especially from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). Declaring the incident in Ringgold, GA illegal, FFRF recalls the courts have repeatedly reiterated their stand against religious ceremonies in public schools.

The ceremony was held in memory of Katie Beth Carter, a Heritage graduate. Carter passed away in a car accident over Labor Day Weekend. As a team manager and a cheerleader, she was a popular face at the school. Her brother, Jacob Carter, who is a practicing minister, conducted the baptism rituals. 11 students, plus the team’s coach, E.K. Slaughter, participated in the baptism. Jacob Carter said, "This is the craziest, coolest thing I've ever done and Katie would be so proud."

Slaughter thanked the volunteers for coming forward to be baptized. He addressed the gathering saying “you don’t realize characteristics that certain people have until you don’t have them anymore. And just reflecting over the last week with KB [Katie Beth] and just how loving she was and how servient she was,” Slaughter felt the baptism was the right thing to do.

The ceremony was recorded by Carter's sister, Kimi. The video went viral on Facebook with over 800 shares has more than 47,000 views. People who shared the video took the baptism as a sign that divine forces are still at work in the school.

The FFRF heavily slammed the school for allowing the ceremony to take place. The organization says it understands the loss of someone is a very tragic matter and they too feel sorry for her friends and relatives. However, they condemned the way in which her memory was honored. The FFRF argued there was no need to conduct a religious ceremony at a public school to honor Carter.

This is the second time the FFRF has come in direct opposition with religious forces in Ringgold. In 2001, the organization submitted a request to the mayor to take down the Ten Commandments, The Lord's Prayer and the Blank Wall from the City Hall. They argued the former two were not secular and had elements that endorsed only one system of belief. On the other hand, the blank frame that was kept for people from other religions was 'insulting' and heavily marginalized the non-Christians. 

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