Atheist Group Demands School Not Have Team Chaplain After Players Prayed For Injured Teammate During Game
SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A high school football team is at the center of a praying controversy.
A photo was taken during Friday night’s game of the Seminole High School football team kneeling in prayer while an injured teammate was being tended to by medics, WFTV reported.
According to a Facebook post from the school’s booster president, Patrick Austin, a team chaplain allegedly led the team in prayer. An atheist group is demanding that school leaders put an end to the team praying.
“Seminole High School does not have a team chaplain,” Mike Blasewitz, a representative with Seminole County Public Schools, told WFTV .
A letter was sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanding that the school refrain from having a volunteer team chaplain because it’s a constitutional violation.
“There is nothing to cease and desist because our behavior was within the guidelines in the first place,” Blasewitz told WFTV. “No adults in the photo, no adults participating, no adults leading it.”
A few parents think that the Freedom from Religion group is overreacting.
“I think what they’re promoting is anti-religion of any kind,” parent Carla Wright shared with WFTV.
Pastor Troy Schmidt told Fox News that he strongly disagrees with the group’s actions.
“I don’t think they’ve read the constitution,” Schmidt told Fox News. “It’s pretty clear that they cannot prohibit my free expression of my faith or the free expression of the coaches to express their faith. They’re telling us to be atheists, when we want to say this is what we believe and we want to express it freely like the constitution says.”
Teachers and school staff members are not allowed to participate in prayer involving students, but students can engage in prayer on campus.
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