While Franklin Graham, chief of the worldwide Samaritan’s Purse Christian ministry, offered congratulations to members of an Alabama football team who chose to be baptized together, someone in the small community of Chatom was unhappy.
And they notified the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which now is demanding an “investigation.”
It was on social media that Graham praised the players.
“Congratulations to these 18 football players and their coaches from Washington County High School in Chatom, Alabama!” he posted.
“These students who had put their faith in Jesus Christ were baptized in a feeding trough while everyone celebrated – well, almost everyone,” he said.
He noted, “One person in their small town complained to the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation and now they’re demanding an investigation about these ‘religious activities.’ I thank God for coaches and teachers across our country who are boldly living out their faith in Christ and care deeply about the lives of their students. God bless them!”
At Fox, a report explained that the FFRF’s complaint was that high school football coaches were doing “illegal” activities.
“One by one, Washington County High School players walked into a feeding trough filled with water from a garden hose, as a pastor baptized them ‘in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,’ all caught on camera by a staff member of Chatom Baptist Church,” Fox reported.
But the events, just a few weeks ago at Jordan-Wilcox Stadium in Chatom, unsettled the FFRF after “a community member” complained.
The organization sent a letter to the Washington County Schools superintendent demanding a district investigation.
The letter said it is against the law “for coaches to organize or participate in religious activities with students, including baptisms.”
“We request that the district investigate and take the appropriate steps to ensure there will be no further illegal religious events, including team baptisms, during school-sponsored activities,” said the letter from FFRF’s Christopher Line, Fox reported. “Coaches and school staff should be instructed that they can neither organize nor participate in religious activities with students while acting in their official capacity.”
“Pathetic,” responded Jeremy Dys, the deputy general counsel for First Liberty Institute.
He said the “shaming” of high school kids needs to stop.
“The Constitution never requires people of faith to hide themselves from public view,” he said. “In fact, the ability of students and members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to freely exercise their faith in public is the very essence of the First Amendment.”