(Mad World News) One Alabama school is receiving a huge backlash from an atheist group after the high school football coach allowed his players to be baptized on the football field following their afternoon practice.
A “concerned citizen” contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation after hearing about the incident. The group then followed up with Russellville City Schools in Russellville, Alabama, citing “unconstitutional religious activity,” and asked the school district to look into the incident. Andrew Seidel, the attorney for the group said in his statement:
“It is … inappropriate for a public school to offer religious leaders unique access to befriend and proselytize students. Accordingly, public high school football teams cannot appoint or employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for the team, or agree to have a volunteer team chaplain, because public schools may not advance or promote religion.”
The organization claimed that it was illegal for the school to host or promote religions activities and claimed that the football coach Mark Heaton and the team Chaplain Tanner hall had violated the law.
The coach also posted about the baptisms on his personal Facebook account, which also included photos of players going through the religious rite. He wrote:
“Man I love that God allows me to do what I do! Baptized players today after practice.”
Heaton defended himself to the Franklin County Times stating that although the baptisms did take place after school practice, that they were not “school-sanctioned,” and that it was something the students expressed a desire to do:
“Neither of these kids had a home church, and they had accepted Christ and wanted to be baptized in front of their teammates who also shared their faith and wanted to be there to support them. This wasn’t school-sanctioned. This was something these students wanted to do, and I believe it was important to let them do this because these kids are going through a very important part of their lives.”
Rex Mayfield, the Superintendent for the school stated that the football team doesn’t have an official chaplain, saying that the allegations from the atheist foundation’s claim was false:
“There may have been people who referred to Tanner Hall as the team’s chaplain, but that isn’t an official position, paid or volunteer, and never has been.”
Do you think that these baptisms should be allowed to take place on school property?