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Atheist Group Demands Football Coach Stop Praying with Players, Says It’s ‘Unconstitutional’

Atheist Group Demands Football Coach Stop Praying with Players, Says It

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A national atheist group is demanding a Missouri school district investigate two high school coaches who allegedly have prayed with players – an action the group calls illegal and unconstitutional.

Head football coach Jeff Wallace and assistant football coach David Stucky of Cameron High School in Cameron, Mo., have prayed with players and discussed Bible verses with them before and after games, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which also says the coaches have led players in a postgame prayer at the 50-yard line.

The foundation, which represents atheists, agnostics and “freethinkers,” sent a letter to Superintendent Matt Robinson in late October, urging him to conduct an investigation.

“Coach Wallace’s conduct is unconstitutional because he endorses and promotes his religion when acting in his official capacity as a school district employee,” the letter says. “… When a public school employee acting in an official capacity organizes and advocates for team prayer or worship, he effectively endorses religion on the District’s behalf.”

The letter points to Supreme Court cases that have struck down school-sponsored prayer.

Parents of several players, though, told local television stations that they support the coaches’ actions. The parents also said the allegations aren’t accurate. The 50-yard line gathering, parent Jeff Speer said, is voluntary and doesn’t involve school-led prayer.

“They just say, ‘Okay, everybody bow your heads,’ and they have a moment of silence and everyone does their own individual prayer,” Speer told KCTV . “Other teams join. We’ve had almost every team we play this year come out, join on […]

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