Hal Capps, the football coach at Mooresville High School in Mooresville, N.C., was told last year that he could no longer baptize his players or lead prayers at the public school.
Patrick Elliott, an attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation, called for Coach Capps to stop the prayers and baptisms in the Fall of 2013 (video below).
“It is a violation of the Constitution for the Mooresville High School football coach to organize, lead, or participate in prayers or other religious proselytizing before, during, or after games and practices,” Elliott wrote to the school district in 2013.
At the time, School Superintendent Mark Edwards claimed he met with Coach Capps, who said he would no longer participate in religious activities at school.
However, last Thursday, Elliott emailed the Charlotte Observer a picture (above) from the high school team's Twitter that shows Capps at a team baptism.
Superintendent Edwards claims the picture was a baptism at the Charles Mack Citizen Center, which is a church where many high school players attend.
Superintendent Edwards said that Coach Capps was invited to attend and added, “He’s a very proud Christian."
The Freedom from Religion Foundation also said the school district received a complaint from a parent of a student and stated, “Students have reported that Coach Capps frequently prays with football players at team events and encourages them to go to church and to become baptized."
However, Coach Capps does have support from many in the local community.
“I think he's doing what he thinks is right,” resident Glenn Sander told WSOC.
“I don’t think he’s forcing anybody, it’s all their decision,” added resident Maribeth Stewart. “The more people who hear about Jesus the better. I think it’s important to be able express ourselves, our beliefs."
According to Superintendent Edwards, Coach Capps was not disciplined, but wrote his players and their families a letter saying that he would not be leading the team in prayers.