FFRF complaint halts bible reading and prayer at North Carolina high school athletic banquet

The Freedom From Religion Foundation complained on behalf of a student at Nash Central High School (Nashville, N.C.) about a coach leading student athletes in prayers and reading from the bible during school-sponsored athletic banquets (every fall, winter and spring). The coach reportedly read from the bible at the recent winter banquet, and told student athletes to follow the message of the bible. Foundation Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert wrote to the district superintendent: “The annual awards banquet is a time for student athletes — of all faiths or no faith — to celebrate their success in athletics during the previous athletic season. A student’s choice in attending this event should not be predicated upon being subjected to Christian based prayers and bible readings.” Further, “Prayer and bible readings at these banquets turns any non-Christian and nonreligious Nash Central High School student athlete into an outsider.” The district responded that “the superintendent handled the issue with the principal,” and FFRF’s complainant said there was no prayer or bible reading at the next banquet on May 20, 2010.

Freedom From Religion Foundation