Mo. school district follows FFRF’s wise counsel — not AG’s bad advice

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has scored a constitutional touchdown against the Missouri attorney general after a school district ignored his advice about football team prayers.

FFRF had sent a letter last October to Cameron R-1 School District Superintendent Matt Robinson about Cameron High School’s head football coach, Jeff Wallace, and assistant coach, David Stucky, holding religious “chapel” services for players before and after football games. The coaches prayed with players and read and discuss bible verses.

In reaction to FFRF’s complaint, Attorney General Eric Schmitt dispatched a missive to the district urging it to disregard FFRF’s concerns and mischaracterizing FFRF’s arguments, even advising the district that the coach’s actions are lawful. FFRF quickly corrected the record.

“Perhaps you were misinformed about the facts of the case,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line wrote to Schmitt. “If not, your letter shows either a disturbing ignorance of the U.S. Constitution or a deliberate attempt to subvert the protections it contains.”

FFRF urged Cameron R-1 School District to take immediate action to stop school-sponsored prayers or religious worship occurring within the district’s athletic programs. The school district recently sent FFRF a note indicating that it is heeding FFRF’s counsel.

“Employees of the district were reminded of the district’s board policy regarding prayer at school or at school-sponsored events and were also instructed not to lead students in prayer, initiate a prayer with students or cause a student to initiate prayer,” stated Robinson. “This matter has therefore been resolved.”

FFRF is gratified that the school district decided to ignore the Missouri attorney general’s misbegotten intervention and instead chose to uphold the Constitution.

“Even a school district can figure out when an AG is pandering to the Religious Right, and not abiding by the Constitution,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “We admire the district’s constitutional steadfastness.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with more than 30,000 members across the country, including over 400 in Missouri. FFRF’s purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between church and state, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

 

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.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

FFRF is a member of the Secular Coalition for America

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