A report from the Atheist website Patheos claims that an Alabama high school football coach baptized a number of his players on their field after a training camp.
Washington County (Ala.) High School head football coach Devon Roberts filled a portable ice bath tub with water and baptized a number of his players in an event that has even been captured on the team’s Facebook page, as you can see below and right here.
As noted by the report from Patheos, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), the organization which often cracks down against scholastic violations of church and state separation, has already reached out to Washington County Schools to ensure that the incident doesn’t happen again.
Here’s the FFRF response, as relayed via Patheos:
We write to ensure that WCS is no longer including religious rituals during school-sponsored activities. It is inappropriate for a public school district to proselytize students by organizing a team baptism. It is equally inappropriate and unconstitutional for coaches to have participated even if students or the [Fellowship of Christian Athletes] organized the baptism. … Student athletes are inclined to mirror the actions of team leaders to garner their favor. Students should not be expected to pray to play, much less to be baptized at a school event. By leading and participating in such events, coaches send a clear message that the athletic staff approves of these activities.
“The involvement of a public school coach in baptisms is so over the top as to be ludicrous,” says FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. “You’d be hard-pressed to cite a display of sectarian religiosity more blatant than this.”