Atheist group tries 'Hail Mary,' gets tackled

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Bob Kellogg (

An atheist group isn't scoring any points for legal scholarship by targeting sports teams.

Last winter, Freedom From Religion Foundation attacked colleges and universities for allowing chaplains on their basketball teams. Now they're attacking football chaplains, too.


Travis Barham of Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to 15 public universities that were told by the atheist group that using a chaplain is unconstitutional.

Various court rulings contradict that accusation, the attorney says, pointing to chaplains who are welcomed in the U.S. military, prisons, and police departments. 

"And those cases, we believe, should apply with equal force in the athletic team context," he tells OneNewsNow.

Freedom From Religion is also targeting a Kentucky public school district that angered the atheist group by allowing pre-game prayers at football games.

The Bell County School District had previously used a Christian minister for pre-game prayers until the atheist group complained.

Dacus, Brad (PJI)Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute says the district's reinstatement of the prayers is legal because the prayers are student-led.

A student group called "First Priority" approached the Bell County superintendent about student-led prayers. The idea was then presented to the school board, which approved the request. 

Barham says Freedom From Religion is misinterpreting the U.S. Constitution and demanding that public universities search their campuses for any expression of faith, then silence it.

"That's not required by the First Amendment," says the ADF attorney. "In fact, that's what's prohibited by the First Amendment."

ADF is advising those schools who receive complaints from the Freedom From Religion Foundation to simply ignore them.

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