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ICC Note: The atheist activist group, Freedom from Religion Foundation, recently sent a letter of complaint to the president of Iowa State University, accusing the school’s basketball coach of “religious coercion.” The complaint came about when Coach Steve Prohm was observed praying with his players and sharing about his Christian beliefs. It is not yet clear if Iowa State University will respond to the letter.

By Heather Clark

07/21/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A prominent atheist activist organization has sent a letter to the president of a secular university in Iowa, accusing its new head basketball coach of “religious coercion” for praying with players and sharing his Christian faith.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter to Iowa State University President Steven Leath last week to lodge a complaint about coach Steve Prohm. The organization pointed to a recent Des Moines Register article in which Prohm outlined that he had prayed with his 21-0 team at his previous job at Murray State and planned to do the same at Iowa State.

“I’ll ask them if they have prayer requests,” he said. “It’s not something you’re beating over their head; you want to give them a foundation, so when they leave Ames, it’s not foreign to them when they raise their kids, or have a wife— that they have a strong foundation and a strong faith.”

The publication also noted that when Prohm coached at Murrary State, he used the analogy of Nehemiah 6:3 to inspire his players, encouraging them to “stay on your wall.” Prohm said that he was partly influenced by his mentor Billy Kennedy, who now serves as a coach at Texas A&M University.

“Watching what [faith] meant to him—it kind of re-challenged me that I had to get invested in having a relationship with Jesus, and reading the Bible and taking time each day to do that,” he stated.

Because of Prohm’s comments in the article, as well as other statements made in the past, FFRF sent a letter to Iowa State University to ask that it ensure Prohm is not endorsing Christianity as coach.

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