CORRECTION: “No such thing as free legal representation”

A press release issued by the Freedom From Religion Foundation on Aug. 27, 2012, contained an error. The press release unintentionally and mistakenly identified (without using his name) the dean of Liberty University School of Law (whom FFRF also identified as a founder of Liberty Counsel) as a defendant in a RICO lawsuit. The law school, not its dean, is named in the RICO litigation.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation regrets this error, apologizes and is reissuing the press release without the error to set the record straight.


“No such thing as free legal representation”

August 27, 2012

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has called for an investigation into proselytizing by a coach, advised Walker County Schools (Ga.) in an Aug. 27 follow-up letter to avoid “self-serving and misleading” offers of pro bono legal representation.

The Aug. 27 letter by FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel to Superintendent Damon Raines points out that Liberty Counsel’s “no cost” representation offer, which the Liberty Counsel mistakenly sent to Walker County, Ala., instead of Walker County, Ga., is “disingenuous.” Seidel explained, “Even with pro bono legal representation, a court battle could cost Walker County taxpayers thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Attached to the three-page letter was a document listing a sample of Establishment Clause cases that schools and local governments have lost, and payments taxpayers were forced to shell out, despite “pro bono” representation. Two cases involved Liberty Counsel and their claim that “the battle is costing taxpayers ‘zero dollars.’ ” The county governments and taxpayers in those cases lost a total of more than $460,000 — one county had to take out a loan to make the payment.

FFRF notified Raines of additional violations such as the football team's chaplain, and that prayer occurs at other sporting events. These violations were pointed out on the “Support Coach Mariakis” Facebook page. That page also provided photographic evidence of the unconstitutional prayers and confirmed that the coach “talked about the Lord very regularly during pre-game speeches… Because of his Godly example many came to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior!”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

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