ICC Note: Chestatee High School of Gainesville, Georgia has recently received great backlash from the American Humanist Association. The organization mailed the school a letter after being informed that the football team was gathering to pray before their games. The letter contained a detailed overview of examples of the team participating in prayer and documented the team’s materials that contained Bible verses. A representative from Hall County Schools stated that they will be investigating the matter further.
By Joshua Rhett Miller
08/12/2014 United States (FoxNews) – A Georgia high school football program may have God on its side, but not the Constitution, according to critics who say prayer and proselytization have no place in the playbook.
Football coaches at Chestatee High School in Gainesville are accused of quoting scripture on team documents and pre-game banners and regularly leading the War Eagles in prayer in a religious blitz the American Humanist Association (AHA) declares unconstitutional.
“There’s really no defense for doing this,” AHA attorney Monica Miller told FoxNews.com. “It’s not even solely student prayer — it’s teachers and coaches praying with students. And we have reason to believe it’s not an isolated event.”
Miller, whose organization sent a letter Tuesday threatening to sue Hall County Schools, said a “concerned citizen” notified the national nonprofit group that the 1,200-student school in Gainesville, about 55 miles northeast of Atlanta, appeared to be doing an end run around the First Amendment. The letter demanded that coaches cut team-sanctioned prayers and remove all Bible verses and other religious messages from team documents and materials.
The group was particularly outraged that outgoing Head Coach Stan Luttrell joined players as they held hands and prayed.
At times, the head coach has led the prayers, which is an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause,” the letter continues. “This involvement in prayer as a ‘participant, an organizer, and a leader’ would unquestionably ‘lead a reasonable observer to conclude that he was endorsing religion.’”
The letter cited numerous cases of coaches and teachers leading team prayers during practices and after games and said the program cited scripture in