Atheist Group Asks Coaches To Stop Praying At Basketball Games

| by Brendan Kelly
a high school basketball team praying at a gamea high school basketball team praying at a game

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is asking several Illinois high school basketball coaches to stop praying with their teams at games.

The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based atheist organization that seeks to ensure the separation of church and state. They have contacted several Illinois public high schools to ask that coaches stop praying with students at games. 

“It has recently come to FFRF’s attention that coaches and staff of Altamont High School, Deiterich High School and Pana High School have pray at competitions with their teams,” the organization wrote in a Feb. 11 press release. “A photo confirms this practice, which has been reported to be recurrent. In the case of Pana High School, the basketball team’s Facebook page (apparently school-endorsed) states, ‘We are thankful for God giving us this opportunity to show others His love. Win or lose, we are all victorious because of His love.’”

According to the FFRF's press release, it is against the law for public school coaches to pray with students.

FFRF’s Legal Fellow Ryan Jayne wrote a letter to the school district representatives on Feb. 9, explaining that the actions of the coaches are “unconstitutional" asking them to make sure the practice does not continue.

"We ask that Pana CUSD #8 commence an immediate investigation into the complaint alleged and take action to ensure that District representatives will not pray with students during District athletic programs in the future," Jayne added in the letter. "Please inform us in writing of the steps you are taking to remedy this serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment."

It has not been reported whether the school district has responded to the FFRF's complaint yet or not.

Sources: FFRF (2) / Photo Credit: FFRF, Pana Schools

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