"Norman High School Football Field" by Toniklemm / CC BY-SA 4.0

Alabama School Criticized for Hosting Baptism With Staffers and Football Coach

Dec 19, 2019

By Hemant Mehta

Not for the first time, a public high school football team has engaged in an act of Christian worship by hosting a baptism for players.

It’s happening this time at Reeltown High School in Notasulga, Alabama. Last month, students participated in a baptism (which would have been fine on its own) on school property (!) with staffers (!!) and the coach of the football team (!!!) right there.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has now sent a warning to the Tallapoosa County Schools about making sure this never happens again.

“Courts have consistently held that it is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, or lead religious activity at public high school athletic events, such as football practice,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes to Tallapoosa County Schools Superintendent Joseph C. Windle. “In Lee v. Weisman (1992), the Supreme Court extended the prohibition of school-sponsored religious activities beyond the classroom to all school functions, holding prayers at public high school graduations an impermissible establishment of religion. As school-sponsored activities, football team events cannot include any endorsement of religion or religious rituals.”

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