The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is at it again in its non-stop effort to purge America of faith in God. In its latest campaign it has targeted the football coach for Ridgeland High School in Walker County, Georgia, insisting that he is violating the First Amendment's supposed “separation of church and state” clause by, among other infractions, allowing local churches to feed his team before Friday night football games.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, on August 21 the FFRF sent a letter to the superintendent of the Walker County school district complaining that coach Mark Mariakis had held pre-game meals at a local church, where a “preacher sermonizes to the players about the Christian religion.”
Additionally, the atheist group charged, Mariakis is guilty of pressuring his players to attend a “Christian football camp that the players have to pay for,” leading the team in pre- and post-game prayers, and using Bible verses on team gear and in motivational speeches.
“Taking public school football teams to church, even for a meal, is unconstitutional,” warned FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel in the letter to the district. “This program is an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause and must cease immediately.”
In his missive Seidel explained that a local individual had complained to the FFRF about the longstanding tradition of local churches providing meals to members of the football team on game days. The complainer noted that during the meal a minister from the host church often delivers remarks “about the Christian religion.” Warned Seidel: “The fact that Mariakis visits several churches instead of one does not mitigate the violation.”
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