Pastor Banned from Praying with Football Team
By: Oluwaseyi Jeje
October 22 2018
A Georgian Pastor, Russell Davis was told to stop praying with a high school football team after a viral video amassed a complaint from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF), a legal organization that advocates for a strict separation of church and state.
In the video, Davis prayed for the players to “unite people together” and to recognize God’s purpose for their lives.
“The Word says when they came out they compelled Him to carry the cross, and then Jesus went to the hill and He won victory on the cross,” Davis said in the video.
“Your goal tonight is not to die on the cross. It is not to die on the field of battle. We’re calling you out tonight to carry their cross,” he continued.
The Christian Post reports that after the video surfaced, the FFRF issued a letter to the school district demanding that they terminate Pastor Russell from his position of character coach and end the allowance of prayer led by him or any other volunteer or employee. FFRF called this schools allowance of prayer a “serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment.”
FFRF argues that coach participation in team prayer is tantamount to a government endorsement of religion and is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, Christian post reports.
“Students have every right for student-led and student-initiated prayer in our schools. But, there are pretty clear limits as to the role of employees,” Coweta County School System Superintendent, Steve Barker told Fox 5.
On Monday, the school district’s attorney, Philip Hartley responded to the FFRF saying,
“The district is committed to complying with the principles set forth in the First Amendment including the Establishment Clause while protecting the rights of students to exercise their freedom of religion rights under the Constitution.”
“The Superintendent has spoken with appropriate individuals and employees and is confident that any prayer in a school setting that involves students will be voluntary, student- initiated and student-led so as to protect the rights of all students in the district. This applies to staff as well as volunteers,” Hartley added.
According to Dawson County News, a local news outlet, the students were not swayed by the decision. After Davis was barred from praying with the players, the students decided to pray anyway, this time, without coaches.
Picture Source-Christian Post