The Orange County School District recently removed chaplains from public school football teams after a complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF).
The FFRF complained that chaplains were leading the student players in prayers, which violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment per U.S. Supreme Court rulings.
In response, the Orange County School District sent a memo to public schools "stating that football teams may not have chaplains and that adults may not lead prayers, based on previous court opinions," noted the Orlando Sentinel.
A spokesperson for the school district said pastors can attend school sport events without imposing their religious beliefs on students.
According to RawStory.com, Fox News’ "Fox & Friends" jumped on this story, ignored the legal facts and interviewed Pastor Troy Schmidt, of the First Baptist Church of Windermere, who has been a chaplain for a high school team for six years.
Pastor Schmidt claimed the FFRF was trying to turn him into an atheist (video below).
“Well, I don’t think they’ve read the Constitution,” claimed Pastor Schmidt. “It’s pretty clear that they cannot prohibit my free expression of my faith or the free expression of the coaches to express their faith. They’re telling us to be atheists when we want to say this is what we believe. And we want to express it freely like the Constitution says.”
However, the FFRF never mentioned that pastors had to be atheists or could not exercise their religion, but rather the chaplains could not impose their religion on public school students.
The Orange County School District is going to use life coaches to encourage the kids, but Pastor Schmidt refuses to be called a “life coach” because “I don’t want to be turned into an atheist chaplain, which is what they’re trying to do.”
"Fox & Friends" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck mentioned that her husband Tim, a former NFL player, was on seven teams and was never denied the right to pray, which is far different from adults leading public school children in prayer.