Religion

High School Coach Asks Student to Lead Prayer, Lawsuit May Follow (Video)

| by Michael Allen

A recent news profile of an Alabama high school football coach may lead to a lawsuit because the coach asked a student player to lead a prayer.

The Anniston Star ran a complimentary article on Eddie Bullock, coach of the Anniston High School football team, who called for a team prayer after a loss:

[B]ullock told his team to rise up and put a hand on a teammate. He asked for a prayer leader, and a player nicknamed “Pee Wee” stepped up. After “Pee Wee’s” prayer, a room full of young men said the Lord’s Prayer.

This young Anniston team might struggle to get 11 players all hitting their assignments between a given center’s snap and referee’s whistle, but the Bulldogs sure can nail the Lord’s Prayer. The voices delivered the words with a cadence that would have made the marching band proud.


The Friendly Atheist notes that the Freedom From Religion Foundation recently sent a letter to Darren Douthitt, the superintendent of Anniston City Schools, warning of a possible constitutional violation:

A public school coach’s participation in a team’s prayer circle is illegal and inappropriate. Federal courts have specifically held public school coaches’ participation in their team’s prayer circles is unconstitutional.

...Anniston City Schools must take action to ensure that coaches do not lead, organize, invite, encourage, or participate in prayers with their teams. Coaches must be informed of their legal obligations and school administrators should be directed to monitor school events to ensure compliance. We ask that you inform us promptly in writing of the steps you are taking to address this matter.

Bullock discusses each week's game on the "Bulldog Blitz," a local TV show (video below), but there is no video up yet about this game or issue.

Sources: The Friendly Atheist, The Anniston Star