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FL Pastor: If Atheists Read the Constitution They Would Know Prayer in School is Okay

A Florida chaplain says that atheists are trying to turn him into a secular ‘life coach’ all because he cannot pray with the team before public high school football matches.

The trouble started after the Orange County schools got a complaint from the Freedom from Religion Foundation because chaplains were leading Christian prayer with the teams.

The school district responded by saying that after reviewing rulings on the subject, that adult chaplains could no longer lead the prayer because it was a school sanctioned event, although they would still be allowed to attend the games and bring food to the team.

They also made it clear that they were not outlawing prayer altogether, but that any prayer would have to be student-led, not led and organized by an adult.

The ruling angered Pastor Troy Schmidt, the team’s chaplain, who said he was only trying to teach the kids Bible lessons through football.

“Everything I’ve done has been centered around the Bible, but I’ve tried to apply it to football,” Schmidt told the Orlando Sentinel. “I know I’m speaking to Christians, to Muslims, to atheists. I’m speaking to teenagers who are at that important phase in life where they’re making critical decisions.”

Then on Fox and Friends, Schmidt accused the atheists behind the new restriction of getting the Constitution all wrong.

“Well, I don’t think they’ve read the Constitution,” Schmidt told the Fox team. “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.”

He also said that by not allowing his Christian evangelism in a public school setting, the atheists were trying to turn him into a non-believer just like them,

“They’re telling us to be atheists, when we want to say this is what we believe,” he preached on Fox. “And we want to express it freely like the Constitution says.”

The schools ruling, while it does impact his ability to lead prayer with the football team, does not in any way impact the pastor’s church activities, which meet at the samed high school and other public schools on Sundays.

Photo Credit: Screenshot

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.