The not-for-profit Freedom From Religion Foundation has trained its sights on Cameron (Mo.) High School, where, “Coaches have reportedly been holding religious chapel services for players before and after games, where coaches pray with players and read and discuss bible verses.”
If true, such behavior is banned by constitutional separation of church and state, with Cameron head coach Jeff Wallace and assistant coach David Stucky both at risk of potential legal action if they continue leading their team in prayer. The team’s practice of postgame prayer led by coaches at the 50 yard line could be a particularly damaging twist against Wallace and Stucky.
Missouri CBS affiliate KCTV spoke to the parent of a Cameron player and multiple fans at a recent game to survey whether they thought the Cameron players and coaches should be punished in some way for pre and postgame prayer.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer was overwhelmingly that parents feel players should be allowed to pray, even if that runs in the face of separation of church and state.
“If it were a situation where a coach or even another student said, ‘Get over here and pray,’ and that kid didn’t want to be a part of it, I understand,” Jeff Speer, the father of two Cameron players, told KCTV, “but they all want to be a part of it.
“(The Freedom From Religion Foundation complaint is) a very distracting thing that every single coach, football, player, fan — we all have to deal with.”
It is unknown when the Freedom From Religion Foundation will demand Cameron cease its practice of pre and postgame led prayer. Given past precedent, the request may well come sooner rather than later.