At the request of the students, high school football coaches oversaw the baptism of 18 of their players right there on the field. However, as soon as atheists heard about the display, they demanded the coaches be punished or, worse, jailed.
The football coaches at Washington County High School in Chatom, Alabama, have a deep connection and heart for their students. So, when over a dozen Bulldogs players came forward with the desire to be baptized in the presence of the educators who had greatly impacted their lives, the coaches agreed to use Jordan-Wilcox Stadium to host the students’ mass baptism.
One after the other, 18 players stepped into an industrial-size feeding trough filled with water from a garden hose. The teens were then baptized “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” by a local pastor to the applause and cheers of staff members and parents. It was only after word of the celebration surfaced that the group realized how dangerous the outrage mob would get.
High school is filled with the peer pressures of drugs, alcohol, sex, and an overwhelming desire to be “good enough.” Sadly, this can have devastating, life-long consequences for young people, who often look to the most harmful of behaviors in order to find acceptance and worth.
Fortunately, the Church has recognized that this is a crucial time to step in and help the youth community, showing them that no matter what they’ve done, they are worthy and accepted by God. While this message is undeniably positive, there are those who are not only offended by the concept but downright enraged.
According to FOX News, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) demanded that the district investigate the coaches for “illegal” activities after a single offended community member complained. Although the FFRF is based in Wisconsin, the organization lodges complaints and lawsuits across the country, sometimes on behalf of just one complainant.
The group dedicated to the “separation of church and state” sent a letter to the Washington County Schools superintendent May 29 demanding a district investigation claiming it is “illegal for coaches to organize or participate in religious activities with students, including baptisms.”
The FFRF insisted that the coaches participated in law-breaking activities which violate the Constitution. Additionally, the group has demanded that the district conduct an investigation to determine whether the staff members should be reprimanded or possibly fired for what’s being referred to as a crime.
“We request that the district investigate and take the appropriate steps to ensure there will be no further illegal religious events, including team baptisms, during school-sponsored activities,” wrote Christopher Line, a FFRF legal fellow. “Coaches and school staff should be instructed that they can neither organize nor participate in religious activities with students while acting in their official capacity.”
Baptism Service WCHS
Posted by Bailey Thomas Hill on Thursday, May 16, 2019
While almost all of the feedback from the community and social media audience was overwhelmingly positive, there were a few individuals who called for harsh discipline. In fact, one social media user even demanded jail time for the coaches for violating the Constitution, although he didn’t specify which part.
“The adults involved violated the United States Constitution. They deserve to be in jail for this. How you people are so deluded to think this is praise worthy is honestly frightening,” Ben Fensler commented.
The First Liberty Institute, a religious freedom law firm, has stepped in to halt the tactics of the FFRF. The firm’s deputy general counsel Jeremy Dys said that the FFRF consistently “shaming high school kids…is pathetic and needs to stop.”
“The Constitution never requires people of faith to hide themselves from public view,” Dys added. “In fact, the ability of students and members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to freely exercise their faith in public is the very essence of the First Amendment.”
The FFRF is going after the coaches of the school district and will likely file a civil rights lawsuit against them for allegedly violating the Constitution. What was intended to be a quiet celebration of a group of young people’s private religious decision has become a vicious battle for religious rights thanks to the anti-religion organization.
The Christian majority is being forced to submit to the atheist minority’s values by hiding or abandoning their own religious beliefs. In an ironic twist, the FFRF is shoving their personal beliefs down the throats of religious individuals, which is exactly what they accuse Christians of doing.