Atheist bullies strike again: Delaware high school coaches cave on post-game prayer

If something happens once you can dismiss it as an anomaly. If something happens twice you pay attention and examine for trends. However, when it happens repeatedly you’ve got more than a trend, you have a deliberate strategy and plan.

And so it is with the incessant and relentless attack of atheist groups against prayer and religious activity involving football. We’ve reported here about the attack levied against my own Alma Mater, the University of Tennessee — and mentioned the attack against Clemson University Coach Dabo Sweeney — and also the case brought against Georgia’s Madison County High School for their donated monument which has two New Testament biblical verses inscribed. Well, the atheist bullies from FRFF are at it again!

As reported by Fox News, “An atheist group succeeded in sidelining football coaches at a Delaware high school from post-game prayers, but the holy huddle will continue as a players-only affair, according to a report. The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Robert Fulton earlier this month to allege a “serious constitutional violation” occurring at Cape Henlopen High School: Coaches participating in postgame prayers with players. One photograph in a local newspaper showed head coach Bill Collick in a prayer circle with his team on Oct. 3, The News Journal reports. “He’s got his hands on players and he’s bowing his head and he’s participating in a prayer circle with students,” said Elizabeth Cavell, an FFRF staff attorney who drafted the letter to Fulton. “Our objection to that is it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which has been interpreted to say that public school districts and their employees cannot advance or endorse religion while acting in their official capacity.”

That interpretation is severely flawed if applied to this case, as well as most of the cases FFRF has lobbied.

The school board in Madison County folded like a cheap chair and this Wisconsin group prevails once again. Is there anyone with the doggone courage to tell these folks to mind their own business?

The more success they’re allowed, the more they are emboldened. Furthermore, why not simply ignore these seemingly demented individuals who possess an animus that goes beyond understanding? A coach kneeling with players in a post-game prayer does not establish any state sponsored religion. What FFRF is strategically doing is advancing a secular humanist agenda to eradicate the Judeo-Christian faith heritage in America — and they’ve decided to attack sporting events, specifically football at public institutions to make their point. Their cohort in this insanity, Mikey Weinstein, at the oxymoronic Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has embarked upon the same crusade against our armed forces.

Fox says, “Cape Henlopen School District Supervisor Fulton replied to inform Cavell all district employees, including coaches, would be reminded of laws regarding separation of church and state.”

And therein lies the problem. Mr. Fulton has no idea of the origin and intent of the term “separation of church and state.” How many times do I have to say this? It is not a law. It is not found in the Constitution — nor in the Declaration of Independence or even in the Federalist Papers.

Separation of church and state was a concept — a principle — written in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury (CT) Baptist Convention articulating that America would not have an established state religion or a Head of State who was also a Head of Church — there would be a separation.

So a coach kneeling with his players during a post-game prayer circle is in keeping with the First Amendment of freedom of religion and the free exercise thereof! Instead, when people fail to know the origins of our Constitutional Republic, they are bullied by these activist groups. As a result, following their home game against Sussex Tech, the postgame prayer circle had a lineup change. As the Vikings gathered to pray after a 49-13 loss, Collick and his assistants stood nearby, but did not join the players.

“We’re satisfied with that,” Cavell said. “We’re expecting that staff, including coaches, are not going to be participating in prayers with the students in the future.”

No ma’am, Ms. Cavell, you and the FFRF are wrong. You violated the First Amendment right of those coaches and Mr. Fulton should have known better and responded as such. At no time did those coaches advocate for an established religion for the State of Delaware or the United States. However, there are some who are not happy.

Fox reports that “Fulton’s response to Cavell upset some Cape Henlopen supporters who felt the superintendent backed down to a the out-of-state, atheist organization. But Cavell said the law is on the side of her group. “We’ve taken lawsuits in the public-school context, but I don’t think we’ve taken a lawsuit on coach-led prayer,” she said. “The law is pretty well established, so it doesn’t lead to much litigation.”

The law is not on Cavell’s side. The only thing on FFRF’s side is their belligerence and the cowardice of others. They’re not allowed to restrain the free exercise of religion of an American citizen. And if Ms. Cavell believes she has the law on her side, then she should bring a lawsuit to end the opening prayer in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Dammit folks, don’t you see that these people are not on the right side but use the ignorance of so-called school leaders to impose their misguided will?

According to Fox, “Coach Collick, meanwhile, said he has prayed with players throughout his four decades in coaching, including during his entire run at Delaware State University from 1985-96. He vowed to continue to impart wisdom on his players whenever he can. “We will continue to move forward and be about respect and do the things we know that good citizens and good people need to do,” he said. But football players at Cape Henlopen High School are far from the only Delaware public-school athletes who pray before or after games. Dozens of teams in the state regularly gather for prayers and at least one coach is involved most of the time, the News Journal reports. “Before the first time we do it, I throw it out there that this is strictly voluntary,” Brandywine coach Tom Wood said Friday. “You do not have to participate if it goes against your religious beliefs. I’m not pushing my religion on anybody.”

It’s time parents and athletes take over this situation and send a message to FFRF. I’d like to see the stands empty out and everyone who desires go down to the field and join in on post-game prayer. We need to start sending letters to the FFRF and tell them how we feel about their attack on our First Amendment rights.

I continue to find it unconscionable that these atheist groups are so offended and concerned about something they pretend does not exist. So what is their real agenda?

I’m just waiting for FFRF to bring a lawsuit or write a letter about the government paying for Muslim footbath stations in airports and on college campuses — nah, FFRF ain’t got the courage to take on Muslims. So they fight against Christians because we keep cowering and allowing them to have their way. Time to fight back.

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61 Comments on "Atheist bullies strike again: Delaware high school coaches cave on post-game prayer"

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RedStateJoe
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How many times does West need to get schooled on this issue? The lawsuits don’t allege a violation of the separation of Church and State, they allege a violation of the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution. Specifically, the First Amendment to the US Constitution begins with the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion …” In a series of cases, the Supreme Court of the United States and the federal courts beneath it have been very clear about the following: ” A school district’s policy of permitting student-led, student-initiated prayer before football games is unconstitutional.… Read more »
elle
Guest

sorry for the long post below – you don’t have to engage it all. Main point was there seems to be a trend with islam making demands in the schools and getting exceptions to the 1st and why is the FFRF not going after them as well as the Christains? 🙂 be nice please.

RedStateJoe
Guest
It’s an issue of accommodation v. establishment, and it can be hard to tell the difference. Muslims have to pray 5 times a day, at set times, some of which fall during the school day. No Christian has to pray before or after a football game. Similarly, Christians have the benefit of having Federal holidays that just happen to fall on their major religious days., or those days fall on Sundays. Muslims follow a lunar calendar for their religion, so sometimes a high holy day will be on a Wednesday. Similarly, it is not an endorsement of religion for a… Read more »
elle
Guest

Constitutionally the need for prayer 5 times a day or the want or desire to pray after a game should be equally of no concern to the school district. It does not seem hard to distinguish “establishment” regarding Christian faith, but somehow it is difficult to apply the same rules to islam? Where is FFRF in Dearborn MI?

RedStateJoe
Guest
They aren’t in Dearborn because while you disagree, the law is that there is a difference between accommodation and establishment. The FFRF is very, very keen on following the law. If the FFRF were to joust at well established legal accomodation, then it would lost its voice when it took on impermissible violations. It’s a lot like what I find wrong with West. He’s hate-Obama 24/7. When he does have a legitimate complaint — and I acknowledge he does — no one pays him any mind. He remains the man who cried wolf. West huffs and puff while the FFRF… Read more »
Rafael X
Guest

Very good discussion you guys should have a beer summit.

elle
Guest

triple times 10 upvote

elle
Guest

Can I be included in the summit? I’m not a beer drinker but can be convinced if it’s a hot day and I have an ice cold belgian white brew in my face lol – but I will on occasion go with a rum and dr pepper if my best friend is there. . . . . .gosh maybe you were not even talking with me included Rafael X, that sux 🙂

Rafael X
Guest

I meant you, it can be lemonade too 😉

Doug Indeap
Guest

Nicely explained. And I appreciated learning something.

elle
Guest
I saw where a school in MD is allowing muslim students to be excused from class for prayer ON school property. The students are/were in the Muslim Student Association recognized by the school and must meet requirements set by the school as to grades and parental permissions. Seems as thought the school is making accommodations for a specific religion by doing this. Just from memory I saw this a while ago, don’t know if it continues. I’m not going to delve deep into running it all to ground, just remembered it because I was surprised at it all – thought… Read more »
RedStateJoe
Guest

You may find this interesting:

http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/publications/courtrv/cr45-4/CR45-4Bornstein.pdf

BTW: The majority of the SCOTUS is Catholic.

elle
Guest

Well I’m hoping if I ever end up on trial for something I’ll be praying for a liberal Catholic judge to view me as the underdog in the matter lol!

RedStateJoe
Guest

Guidance provided by the Department of Education stipulates that schools “have the discretion to dismiss students to off-premises religious instruction, provided that schools do not encourage or discourage participation in such instruction or penalize students for attending or not attending.

“Similarly, schools may excuse students from class to remove a significant burden on their religious exercise, where doing so would not impose material burdens on other students,” the guidance reads.

John30013
Guest
There is a difference between the school making a reasonable accommodation for the observance of religious beliefs (as it’s doing in the cases of the Muslim students you cited) and an employee of the school (therefore an employee of the state) leading or taking part in a religious activity with students. Note that no employee of the school is leading these Muslim students or participating in the prayers with them. As long as the school is even-handed about it (i.e., provides similar accommodations for any other group of religiously-minded students, as well as those with no religious inclinations, should those… Read more »
elle
Guest
I don’t object to it either but see issues with 1) what of the muslim student who does not have high enough grades to be excused from class with the rest of the group? Is he or she not still a muslim needing to pray at the appropriate time? and 2) the school is allowing this organized prayer, regardless it is going on in the school which would seem to be problematic in some ways during actual school hours. An employee of the state, the teacher is providing the classroom or space and giving permission. It seems to say, no… Read more »
John30013
Guest
If the school is actually providing the space (you’ve not cited your sources, so I can’t verify this), then it probably runs afoul of the law (my understanding is that public schools may excuse students for religious activities off of school property. Assuming that it were legal to allow the students to perform their religious activity on school property, it seems that a school employee who simply observed the students in this activity (but did not participate themselves)–i.e., in order to ensure the students did not misuse the school property and did perform their religious activities–would not cross the legal… Read more »
elle
Guest
http://www.wnd.com/2013/09/school-cancels-muslim-proselytizing-in-class/ http://www.wnd.com/2013/09/school-cancels-muslim-proselytizing-in-class/ (3rd paragraph group down from the top talks about the Dublin story of islamic indoctrination above) http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/32085-aclu-attacks-christian-prayer-but-fights-for-muslims http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/32085-aclu-attacks-christian-prayer-but-fights-for-muslims (not completely relevant, but is student led, but out of the class room and not during school hours. . .) http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/2013/0616/School-prayer-50-years-after-the-ban-God-and-faith-more-present-than-ever ( this is before school starts) http://dailycaller.com/2013/02/01/maryland-high-school-allows-muslim-students-to-leave-class-every-day-to-pray/ (this is the story I was originally referring to, but had to find it again. This came up a couple years ago, and I guess by the date of this link is a current issue again (?) don’t know) (I just think that the school providing space for this muslim prayer on… Read more »
John30013
Guest
WND, CharismaNews and The Daily Caller are not trustworthy news sources. They all have a clear ideological bias and frequently publish known lies and misinformation. The CS Monitor piece actually seems to support your desire that religious observances be allowed in public schools, so I’m not sure how that’s germane to this discussion (although I’m at work now, so I didn’t read the entire piece–just going by the title and summary). Regarding the putative Muslim students with bad grades, note that I said (as I understand it) that the school can make reasonable accommodations for the students’ religious observances. Obviously,… Read more »
elle
Guest
Yes, that’s why I said I don’t stake my life on any news sources really – they all have bias, all of them. They just came up in a quick search. The CS Monitor point was that this is happening before school, not during school. The Daily Caller? Don’t know except yes they are conservative. And this is where I first saw the story I think in 2012. Like I said just did a search – I don’t endorse any of the sites I linked. For every untrustworthy conservative site there will be found an untrustworthy liberal or progressive site.… Read more »
John30013
Guest

Thanks. I’ve enjoyed our discussion too. Enjoy your weekend!

elle
Guest
John30013, I think you said you were an atheist somewhere in here (yes?) and I just wanted to say that I am a Christian and that I am happy to call you a friend. Sometimes I get into a conversation with an atheist and it just does not go well. Ends up spiraling out of control and I say things that I am ashamed of and never intended to say. And I really feel affected by it because even though we are different we are more the same. I really admire you and the way you talked to me without… Read more »
keithsmustache
Guest

Why is it anyone’s business in Wisconsin what they do in Delaware. This is about an agenda. For something that atheist consider invisible and a myth, they certainly spend a lot of time fixating on it. A civil war is coming. Do atheists know how to shoot?

elle
Guest

Because they saw a picture in the newspaper and zeroed in on this school, otherwise they would have never heard of them. They look for stuff like that and then start sending letters threatening to sue. No one in the community usually has a problem. I will say that it seems like they do go after Christian issues the most but that is probably because we are a Christian nation by the numbers, so they have a target rich environment.

John30013
Guest
Or perhaps some people in the community do have an objection, but they’re afraid to voice it because it’s not the prevailing sentiment. All citizens (and their children) should be afforded the equal protection of the law. That includes not being coerced (explicitly or implicitly) into participating in a religious activity they don’t believe in. Just because FFRF is based in Wisconsin doesn’t mean its interests end at that state’s borders. I doubt Mr. West, or others commenting about FFRF’s home state, express similar disdain for religiously-minded organziations, such as Scotsdale, AZ-based Alliance Defending Freedom, that intervene in perceived “religious… Read more »
elle
Guest
Yes of course. FFRF and ADF have their missions, as we all do. My comment was in reply to the person who said something like what business is it of the FFRF. Of course, they are a watchdog organization which is why I said they see a news article with a photo of a team and the coach is pictured with his head bowed in prayer, so naturally they are going to start sending their letters. As to those in the community with objections, don’t know, didn’t see any info about that regarding this school. In all the school systems… Read more »
John30013
Guest

The coercion is not on the attendees to the game so much as it is on the players who might otherwise choose not to participate.

My personal opinion (as an atheist) is that public displays of religious activity like this are ostentatious (I believe there’s some scripture that backs me up on that point), but I have no problem with players expressing their religious faith before or after a ball game. Coaches likewise are free to do so. It’s when the coaches join with the players in the activity that, due to the power relationships involved, the potential for coercion arises.

elle
Guest
Until a team member came forward to say he is under coercion, I just can’t give much thought to that idea. The very idea of coercion is un-Christian and would be detrimental to the coach and his own spiritual life on a personal basis. One of the foundations of Christianity is free will and personally I find this one of the most beautiful and profound things about Christian faith. Coach said he always makes it clear to all that it is purely voluntary. When I think of religion and coercion nothing comes to mind clearer to me that islam as… Read more »
Amal Thaon
Guest
In Matthew 6 nonetheless is a good recommendation NOT to pray in public. It may not be another abomination, but it is certainly it is concentration which means you aren’t doing your manly job of looking out for your fellow-citizens’ safety — and his right NOT to hear public ranting. There are many in the world who hear public prayer and think mental illness; and an atheists concludes that you’re talking to somebody who isn’t there. Prayer to the invisible should be inaudible. How much more pleasant than prayers to the Almighty would be a simple Good morning, Mam! Good… Read more »
John30013
Guest
So you require that a young person, perhaps at great personal risk to himself, must have the courage to come forward in order for a public school to obey what is at this point very settled law? I’m glad that’s not how the courts see things. The law is the law, and should be followed irrespective of whether anyone complains about violations of it. There are many ways a coach can express unity with the team. It doesn’t have to be religious in nature. There are ways to accommodate the players’ religious faith (not that I recall sporting events being… Read more »
elle
Guest

You assume coercion is inevitable. I don’t. What do you presume the great personal risk would be?

John30013
Guest

Oh come on. Surely you’re aware of the intense peer pressure kids endure in school. Don’t you think in such an environment that it’s possible, perhaps even likely, that a player who doesn’t conform with the expectations of the other players, is likely to be harassed? And couldn’t that harassment–especially among young men–easily turn physical? Kids get beat up all the time for what, to us adults, seems like an inconsequential issue.

elle
Guest
would add having raised sons, the peer pressure isn’t about faith or being a christian it is about kicking ass be it on the wrestling team or the football team – I have been in this up to my eyeballs. The team is first focused on what the team is about and that is being a team and winning. That is what they do. The wrestling team my 4th son was in was so close, even I was a bit taken aback with the cohesion I saw. Religion has little to do with anything. If there was, which in fact… Read more »
John30013
Guest

Perhaps not in your community, but you’re not omniscient, and your personal experience is not representative of everyone’s.

elle
Guest

you are right – sorry didn’t mean to represent anyone but myself and my own experiences from many years with schools and sports and peer pressure issues. Guess we could tag that on you too no?

John30013
Guest

Except that I’m not using my personal experience as an excuse for public
schools not to obey the law. It’s easy to say “no one in the community
has complained”, or “I haven’t heard of any complaints”, but that’s
exactly why the law is not written in terms of specific incidents. It has to be broadly applicable in order to deal with a wide range of potential violations.

I do appreciate that we’ve been able to discuss this rationally and without any name-calling or other unhelpful behavior. That’s a refreshing change, and I thank you for it.

elle
Guest
Can’t remember ever a kid getting beat up for not being a Christian and I have been in it up to my eyeballs for years. It just is not about religion, but how tough you are. Religion is the last thing that causes the problems on a team. I know this – I raised boys to men. Is it possible sure, but what is more likely is a stronger Christian high schooler on a team would step in to stop hazing. That is the reality. Yes it is all quite physical. The presence of a few strong Christians often will… Read more »
John30013
Guest

I’m glad you don’t personally know anyone that’s had that experience. But your personal experience is not representative of everyone’s, and you’re not omniscient. Just because you haven’t personally experienced it doesn’t mean it hasn’t (or doesn’t) happen.

elle
Guest

Right – I don’t know everything, neither do you.

John30013
Guest

Exactly. And getting back to my main point, that’s why the law restricts how public school employees can interact with students in regard to religious activities on school property and during instructional time (both of which arguably apply to coaches and players engaged in an officially sanctioned sporting activity).

Doug Indeap
Guest
It is common to hear discussion about people being too easily offended and such. That is largely beside the point. The discussion is not about the freedom of individuals to say or do something others find offensive; each of us has that freedom, and none of us has a right not to be offended. Rather, we’re talking about the government weighing in to promote religion. Under our Constitution, our government has no business doing that–REGARDLESS of whether anyone is offended. While the First Amendment thus constrains government from promoting (or opposing) religion without regard to whether anyone is offended, a… Read more »
elle
Guest
Your 1st para yes, what I said. Does not really matter if people in the community are offended regarding any federal case the FFRF would bring. I think they would have to have someone in the community next to them in it all. Most people that are offended complain and a change is made to end what ever offends them on the local level, or they just get offended and drive on. The team will continue to pray, the coach will continue to guide his team as he sees fit. Maybe that means he will stand 10 feet away from… Read more »
Amal Thaon
Guest

All prayer to an invissible god should be inaudible.

elle
Guest

lol and if it’s a visible God then what Amal? LOL

Amal Thaon
Guest

SFAIK, the only reason to ‘take the knee’ is give a b’low job.

My real name is Richard Dey, btw. Hello. I like this site. I’m new to it.

elle
Guest
Amal, hi, gosh this was from about 4 months ago. . . so much has happened since; guess you are catching up. . . Look, you say “inaudible” I agree. I love silence, moments of silence where all bow their heads, that’s inaudible. All take the moment as they wish. But without going all back and reading through it all again, honestly that is not the problem. The visual image of the coach taking a knee is. I rather doubt the coach is perpetrating some sort of evil here. Let them be, let them take a knee together. Honestly, there… Read more »
Doug Indeap
Guest
Speculating about whether someone is coerced by the government’s action is largely beside the point, I think, unless you’re concerned about the standing issue. Most people don’t get exercised about such a technical issue, and instead focus their attention on the more fundamental question whether a government’s action complies with the Constitution. The Constitution constrains the government from promoting (or opposing) religion, and that constraint should operate regardless of whether 100% or 1% of the citizens may favor or disfavor some particular governmental action regarding religion. The Constitution’s constraints on government should not vary from city to city depending on… Read more »
Amal Thaon
Guest

DI: I have a question. US Gov imposes Titles IX and XI. HS Locker rooms are merged. One shower is used simultaneously by M and F Can the Fs put up a sign over the showers stating: No erections PLEASE!! Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law! This isn’t a hypothetical situation. Is the additional imposition upon Ms “legal” so long as they use “polite” language (or say it in Latin or something?)

elle
Guest
A team member being coerced was another person’s concern, not mine. Never saw anything like it in all the years of raising my own sons in sports. I do not believe that the actions of the Coach in anyway by his intention is to represent that the school is a Christian school. I believe he is expressing his own right to his own beliefs which the constitution is suppose to protect. That one or half or all of the team share his belief in Christianity likely changes from year to year and is totally by chance. The coach represents the… Read more »
RedStateJoe
Guest

If the rule of law threatens you, if obeying the Constitution is too much to ask of you — then leave. Get out. Leave America.

The Constitution will prevail over the threat of armed rebellion you present.

One has to ask – why do you continue to live in a country you hate so very much?

pepjrp
Guest

He hates the taking over of the country. The interpretation is made by atheist judges at this time, who hate anything faith related. It is not black and white as you write and can be overturned back and fourth for decades to come depending on the viewpoint of the judges deciding at that time.

John30013
Guest

If you have any evidence whatsoever that the judges who made those rulings were or are atheists, by all means please present it. But I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Here’s a hint: try sticking to the facts and leave your fevered imagination out of it.

pepjrp
Guest

Yea, they are all Christians John-Boy… what a moron.

John30013
Guest

The fact is that you have absolutely no idea what those judges’ faiths are/were, unless you asked them personally, or worshipped with them, or read it in their biographies. (I’m guessing none of the above.)

So I stand by my statement and I won’t debate any further with someone who confuses imagination for facts.

Oh, and by the way, if you have to call me names, it probably means your argument sucks. Name calling is for playground bullies, not serious discussions.

elle
Guest

True, with a new president will come some new judges and then some new views. Will be very interesting to see the shift.

RedStateJoe
Guest

BTW: There’s no take over. This has been the well-settled law for a long, long time.

RedStateJoe
Guest

You’re half right. It can change with the Justices, though this would be a major change. Federal judges are appointed by the President and approved by Congress. They represent the will of the people.

Advocating armed revolt if you don’t get your way, however, is sedition and it is ALWAYS unAmerican.

elle
Guest

When people talk of armed revolts and such I think it is blowing off steam and intense passion for their beliefs. We’ve all been there – but no not the way we do things now :0

Ruthie_ Cope
Guest

This school and administration needs to step up and be men and women of courage. This is one reason that we’re loosing American. Shame on them!

Doug Indeap
Guest
Notwithstanding Allen’s wishful assertion to the contrary, separation of church and state is a bedrock principle of our Constitution, much like the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. In the first place, the Supreme Court has thoughtfully, authoritatively, and repeatedly decided as much; so, contrary to Allen’s assertion, it is indeed law—long since established law. In the second place, the Court is right. In the Constitution, the founders did not simply say in so many words that there should be separation of powers and checks and balances; rather, they actually separated the powers of government among three… Read more »
GloiraUpson
Guest

If we keep giving up and running away, we will get what we deserve, an Godless country.