Religion

Humanist Group Condemns Universities Who Employ Sports Chaplains

| by Kendal Mitchell
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A humanist group recently condemned universities that employ chaplains for their athletic teams.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based group that advocates for the separation between church and state, wrote letters to the University of Louisville, Wichita State University, University of Maryland, Oklahoma University, Kanas University and University of Virginia for appointing a chaplain.

Several of the aforementioned university teams had associations with Nations of Coaches, a national coaching group aimed to help coaches professionally and spiritually, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint.

"Public school athletic teams cannot appoint or employ a chaplain, seek out a spiritual leader for the team, or agree to have a volunteer team chaplain because public schools may not advance or promote religion," said Freedom From Religion Foundation staff attorney Andrew Seidel.

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The humanist organization raised similar concerns regarding religious practices inside the University of Mississippi football locker room last year.

Last September, the group sent a open records request to Ole Miss asking for information regarding any prayer services led by coaches or clerics, schedules of religious services and records of emails sent between the football staff and team chaplain John Powell.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation’s statement said they think it is unfair for schools to make players see a religious figure because players may not hold the same views.

"One in three Americans under the age of 30 identifies as nonreligious, making it very likely these chaplains are imposing their religion on students who are not religious and just want to play basketball," the statement said.

Others said they think the Freedom From Religion Foundation is attacking Christians despite their demands for free speech.

"When a society loses it Christian foundation, eventually no one benefits, even atheists,” said 4 Winds Christian Athletics President Steve McConkey. “Christians need to pray and realize this is a spiritual problem as non-believers want to impose their made-up morality on others."

Sources: Clarion-Ledger, Gospel Herald 

Photo Credit: Daily Republic