Atheist Group May Sue High School Over Football Team Prayers

Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 12:42 PM

By John Blosser

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A Georgia high school has been threatened with a lawsuit by an atheist group, which contends that the school's football team coaches are violating the Constitution by praying with players.

The American Humanist Association, a 30,000-member, 70-year-old atheist organization, also says that coaches at Chestatee High School in Gainesville, Georgia, include Bible quotations in team documents and on-field banners, according to Fox News.

The association in a letter addressed to officials of the Hall County School District, "demands that the football coaching staff stop leading and taking part in team prayers and that the school remove all Biblical references and religious messages from team documents and other materials" under threat of a lawsuit for "damages, an injunction, and attorneys' fees," according to a statement from the group, which posted the letter online.

The letter, from association attorney Monica Miller, states that the group has been informed that the school’s football coaches have been using their position to promote Christianity on the football team by integrating Bible verses into team documents and promotions.

In response, a group of 200 students at Chestatee High School students gathered at War Eagle Field, where the team plays to hold a prayer and support rally.

War Eagles player Kristopher Pierce told AccessNorthGeorgia, "We're just gathering, having a prayer circle for those who want to come out and pray freely and stand up as a whole school." The lawsuit, he said, "will not stop preparation for our first scrimmage game, nor will it stop us from having an awesome season."

"When a teacher or coach leads or participates in prayer with students, the prayers become sponsored by the school," Miller wrote.

Miller told Fox News, "It's not even solely student prayer. It's teachers and coaches praying with students. There's really no defense for doing this."

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