Mooresville, N.C. – The head coach of the Mooresville High School football team, Hal Capps, has been ordered to stop leading players in prayer and from attending their baptisms (source). This order comes after criticism from the Freedom From Religion Foundation who claims to promote constitutional separation of church and state.
“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,” Patrick Elliott, attorney for Freedom from Religion Foundation, wrote to the school’s district attorney last fall.
Elliott emailed the Observer a picture from the Blue Devils’ team Twitter accoun, reportedly showing Coach Capps being present at a team baptism. But the school Superintendent, Mark Edwards, said the photo was from a baptism performed at a church that many team members attend and Capps was simply invited to attend.
Many from the Mooresville community have spoken up in defense of the coach.
“I don’t think he’s forcing anybody; it’s all their decision,” Maribeth Stewart told WSOC-TV. “The more people who hear about Jesus the better.”
“I think it’s important to be able express ourselves, our beliefs,” Stewart told WSOC.
Capps only statement to local media was to say that the team was moving forward.
Commentary: It is interesting and troubling that we live in a country where certain religions seem to be protected and others seem to be persecuted.
Do organizations like “Freedom From Religion” only go after Christians they believe have violated a “separation of church and state,” (a phrase not found in the Constitution)?
For example, a Muslim-owned company recently filed bankruptcy, and not just any bankruptcy, a “Sharia-compliant bankruptcy plan” to a court (source). Their request to the court asked that their bankruptcy be handled by Sharia Law as it is in Islamic countries, much different from American law. The court granted the request and waved U.S. bankruptcy laws in their case. The judge actually gushed over Sharia law and stated that he found it fascinating.
We heard nothing from “Freedom From Religion” on this, leading many to ask if there was a separation of Mosque and state. A simple Internet search shows there are many situations similar to this. Try to imagine if a Christian group had requested to have a special “Christian Bankruptcy” that would ignore U.S. law and would only be available to Christians.
The Christian-owned company Hobby Lobby recently opposed Obamacare’s compliance rules that required businesses to fund abortion procedures (something that was promised would not be the case by President Obama when he was campaigning on behalf of the act). So far they have lost and appealed. That’s right, the government is not letting them avoid a law because it violates their religious beliefs.
If we are to be allowed to practice freedom of religion, we shouldn’t be required by law to go against our religion and our consciences. The United States government isn’t being consistent and seems to have animosity toward Christians and Christian groups. We all should remember that the Constitution grants freedom of religion and freedom of speech. There is a difference in an individual practicing those freedoms and a government promoting a certain religion. We, at the very least, need consistency.