The Cameron, Mo., football team recently came under fire from the Freedom from Religion Foundation because of prayers at its games. The Missouri attorney general this week offered his support to the coaches and administration.
In a November story, Metro Voice reported that the coaches had been holding prayer sessions on the 50-yard line after games. The Freedom From Religion Foundation didn’t like it.
“Coaches were praying with players, reading Bible verses,” said Chris Line, a FFRF staff attorney. “We also understand they were sometimes bringing in outside preachers to talk to players.”
Line claimed that school-sponsored prayers violate the First Amendment. “It is illegal for public school athletic coaches to be leading their team in religious prayer and religious worship,” he said..
The foundation sent a letter to the school district on Oct. 28, urging Superintendent Matt Robinson to take immediate action to stop all school-sponsored prayers.
But now, the school district is getting support from he state’s highest law enforcement officer– the Attorney General.
In a letter addressed to the superintendent of the Cameron School District, Attorney General Eric Schmitt said he believes that coaches Jeff Wallace and David Stucky did not violate the Constitution by leading the students in prayer.
“I write to assure you that the Establishment Clause does not prohibit public prayer and that the First Amendment protects the rights of public-school students to engage in prayer in public places,” the letter said.
In October, the foundation, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit that works to “protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state,” said it received a complaint from someone in the Cameron community concerning the alleged actions by head football coach Jeff Wallace and assistant coach David Stucky. The organization sent a letter to the school district, urging Superintendent Matt Robinson to take immediate action to stop all school-sponsored prayers.
“The district will be performing an investigation into the allegations and concerns raised by the FFRF, pursuant to district’s non-discrimination policy and policy regarding religious expression, to determine whether district policy has been violated,” Robinson said in a statement to Fox 4. “The Dcstrict will also take immediate interim measures to protect students from further possible violations of district policy. No local complaints were brought to the attention of administration of the school district.”
The foundation also has demanded that Clemson University’s football team stop school prayers, has tried to get school kids to stop saying the Pledge of Allegiance and tried to erase “In God We Trust” from currency.
– Alan Goforth | Metro Voice