Tortured Logic: Christian Churches Cooking For High School Football Players = Threat To Democracy, Muslim Prayers In School = Yeah, We Are Cool With That

Unbelievable. To read this, you would think that what is a Southern community tradition of civic pride and support, church groups supporting the local high school football team, is the hammer and chisel that is chipping away at the cornerstone of our Republic. You just have to love it when the Anti-Religion In Any Form (Except Possibly Islam) groups cite the “constitutional principle of separation between state and church” as if those words actually appear in the Constitution instead of in a private letter, that of Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802.

A Wisconsin-based group has accused a Georgia high school football coach of violating the First Amendment by allowing local churches to prepare meals for his team.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the superintendent of Walker County Schools demanding an “immediate investigation” into Ridgeland High School football coach Mark Mariakis.

The FFRF is a Wisconsin-based group whose purpose is to “protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church.”

They are demanding the school system launch an investigation into allegations that Coach Mariakis allowed local churches to prepare pre-game meals for his football team. They also allege that the coach prayed with his team, used Bible verses in motivational speeches and on team shirts and participated in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“Taking public school football teams to church, even for a meal, is unconstitutional,” wrote FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel. “This program is an egregious violation of the Establishment Clause and must cease immediately.”

Seidel said taking school children to churches and having ministers “present the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and having the food blessed “shatters the protections the First Amendment put in place.”

The Walker County School system released a statement acknowledging they have received the letter and are reviewing its contents.

The FFRF said a local individual complained about a longstanding tradition of local churches providing meals to the teenage football players on game day. The complainant said a minister would typically deliver remarks “about the Christian religion.”

“The fact that Mariakis visits several churches instead of one does not mitigate the violation,” Seidel wrote.

And yet, provisions are made for the “progressives” pet religion without similar reservations – from the Christian Post in January of this year:

In Green Bay, Wis., the local school district is making an effort to accommodate Muslim students’ prayer schedules without interfering with classes or the Constitution. But what school officials consider a testament to religious freedom, others consider a form of special treatment that Christians do not enjoy.

An influx of nearly 200 refugees – many of them Muslim – from war-torn Somalia into the Green Bay area is what has led to the accommodations, which include allowing Muslim students to use empty classrooms or alcoves during recess to pray. Under federal law, public schools cannot deny the right to prayer to any student. Some Muslims pray five times a day at specific, designated times.

“The issue of students praying in school has come up a number of times this year, in part because we have an increasing number of students who practice the Islam faith, many of whom are Somali students,” said Barbara Dorff, student services director, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “It is our responsibility to find a private place for these students to pray and to allow them to pray.”

In addition, Dorff says that allowing students to pray is really a simple matter that does not interfere with the school day or the education process.

So Christian churches preparing food for athletes and hosting them in a church building (not in the school) somehow shatters the First Amendment…

Seidel said taking school children to churches and having ministers “present the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and having the food blessed “shatters the protections the First Amendment put in place.”

…but accommodating Muslim prayers in school facilities, during school hours, is what America is all about:

Despite some not agreeing that there is reciprocation, Dorff says that the accommodation her school district has made for Muslim students’ prayer schedules is an example of what is so great about America.

“We were founded on religious freedom,” she said. “To me, it’s all about the United States of America and constitutional rights and freedoms. We live in this country – I think we should be proud.”

Tortured logic. How can the two views be reconciled? The answer is that they can’t. I recognize that these are two separate incidents involving different situations but the tie that binds is the bias. The bias has to favor either Christianity or Islam, and it is pretty clear which is favored today by the “establishment”.

For the record, I went to the Freedom From Religion Foundation website and I couldn’t find a single action or protest that was taken on in opposition to an Islamic/Muslim entity or practice – if there was, I must have missed it. It appears that a more accurate name for this organization might be the “I’m Afraid Of Christianity Foundation”.

Perhaps it is because the “progressive” left perceives Muslims as a downtrodden minority to fold into their power base as a part of the coalition of their other dependent groups…but to do that, the “progressives” must ignore that as much as they hate “fundamentalist” Christians, Islam is far more prescriptive and fundamentalist. Just look at what the “progressives” stand for – Islam is 100% in opposition and without a lot of the “forgiveness” present in Christianity.

But it is not really about support for a minority, is it? It is really about the accumulation and retention of power. The “progressives” have a history of uniting disparate radical groups who are opposed to what America really is – statists, communists, Marxists, radical black nationalists, counterculture rebels, anarchists, anti-religionists, anti-military – all are part of the “progressive” base. Now they seek to add radical Islam to those groups because 1) Islam competes with their enemy – Christianity, and 2) they refuse to differentiate between mainstream and radical Islam. However, these two cannot be divorced until Islam undergoes a reformation that denounces the radicalism – I wouldn’t hold my breath – a reformation in Islam is a theological impossibility because they believe that the Koran is the literal word of Allah and cannot be changed or “interpreted”.

One of these days, the scorpion (radical Islam) will simply sting the frog (“progressives”). After all, a scorpion is a scorpion and that is his nature.

This is not an anti-Muslim screed, it is an attempt to illustrate the absurdity that passes for logic and “fairness” today.

I’ve written it before but it bears repeating. Even as the “statists” in our political sphere falsely embrace Islam, they continue chasing their dream (nightmare) of forced secularism. While it is true that the First Amendment of our US Constitution states…

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

…it does not state that our society – or our government – must be free from religion.

I have previously written that while I agree that “progressives” don’t hate freedom, they just define it very, very differently. Modern conservatism is about “freedom of“, as in freedom of opportunity, freedom of self-determination, freedom of liberty, freedom of religion. “Progressives” define it as “freedom from“, freedom from economic risk, freedom from political risk, freedom from social risk and freedom from religion. The conservative approach requires minimal regulation and control, the “progressive” requires maximum regulation and control.

While it seems that classical liberals (modern conservatives) wish everyone to experience life to its fullest and on their own terms, modern Liberal/”Progressives” want to use government control to protect everybody from life, the real answer is pretty clear – support individual freedom without bias – stop the political differentiation. End the institutional bias.

26 thoughts on “Tortured Logic: Christian Churches Cooking For High School Football Players = Threat To Democracy, Muslim Prayers In School = Yeah, We Are Cool With That

  1. I hope that one legal group advocating on hehalf of religious freedom (I forget their name) comes to the aid of this GA school. Dang! Now that’s going to drive me crazy. I’m pretty sure they helped that school here in the Panhandle. I think they’re based in CA I can’t take it! I’ve got to do some searching for their name!

  2. Listen, I can explain the difference.

    The establishment clause in the first amendment of the constitution (“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) means that a) you are completely free to worship as you see fit in your personal time and b) the U.S. government, in any of its forms, may not place one religion above another religion and cannot promote any particular one.

    Okay. So, that means any child in school can pray to whatever god they choose so long as they don’t disturb the learning environment. Teachers are allowed to pray on their own time outside of school.

    The problem that the FFRF and I, personally, have with what’s going on with this georgia high school is that the coach is being paid from state funding and thus cannot establish christianity as the de facto religion of his publicly funded high school football team. And I can promise you that if a muslim cleric did the same thing to a football team, the FFRF would respond just as quickly (and with a lot more support considering the amount of christians in this country).

    A government official cannot preach to people. This country is not a theocracy. Its really easy to “reconcile” these two positions: I am okay with religious people being religious. Students, go to church outside of school. Pray over your meal if you want. Pray between classes, pray before a test, consult with your pastor about what classes to take. As soon as my tax dollars go towards some person at the school preaching and trying to convert people to whatever religion they belong to, I have a problem. And its not a liberal progressive agenda. I would be equally upset with a pagan or a wiccan or a buddhist or a muslim or a jew or a christian.

    And here’s my problem with you: Its not a hard thought experiment. Just substitute church for mosque. Or temple. Or synagogue. And have those leaders preach to the children. And have some of the children convert to that religion. Oh, its not cool to have tax dollars support that? But its okay, right, because the majority of that community is muslim, right? Oh, you’d just move out of that school district, right? No, that’s not right. You shouldn’t have to move counties to exercise the freedom of your religion.

    • Here’s my problem with you – you missed the point. It wasn’t a post about the supremacy of Christianity, it was about the unequal treatment of religions as a whole. I’ll be happy to explain why all of your other assertions are wrong as well when I have time but I’m pretty sure that one of our co-bloggers will take care of it for me. There are extensive writings and research on this site that establish that the Constitution does not exclude religion or the active participation of it in public life, that is a recent “innovation” brought about though “progressivism”. Exposing kids to a meal at a church and prayer is not establishing a “de facto state religion”.

      Rather than saying that you are “sure” that the FRFF would respond, can you cite one instance where they have with any other religion other than Christianity? I didn’t see it.

    • Mike:

      1 — The FOUNDERS disagree with your reading of the 1st Amendment. They SPECIFICALLY AND POINTEDLY said that govt. DOES have an obligation to support religion — just not to favor one religion over the other.

      2 — By kicking what you consider “religion” out of govt. YOU FAVOR A RELIGION — Atheism. Atheism has been declared a religion by the Supreme Court — and rightly so: it meets the definition.

      3 — it is NOT that Christians oppose Islam, it is that Islam has favored status with our govt (PRECISELY what the 1st Amendment DOES forbid) and that Islam is actively engaged in subversion. The 1st Amendment does NOT protect subversion, whether part of your religious beliefs or not.

      So, from where I stand, your entire objection fails.

    • hmmmm – So you would do away with the Fellowship of Christian Athelets as well? It is my understanding that no one forces sports participants (football, basketball, cheerleaders) to participate in that function, nor do I see where the coach was being criticized for FORCING his players to attend the meals served by the church(es). Also, find me a motivational speech or saying that is not paraphrasing a Bible verse or scripture. Sportsmanship in general is based on “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12) or to paraphrase, treat people as you would like to be treated. Force religion on an athelet or anyone else? No. Forcefully (by legal manuvering) stopping an athelete that wants to participate from participating in these functions? That’s no different than forcing one to attend, and it’s just as wrong.

    • May I also point out what the Constitution actually says:

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

      Or prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof…exercising and establishing have always been a definitional challenge for “progressives” and anti-religionists alike. Exercising a fundamental constitutional right does not equal establishment of a religion…this is another example of tortured logic.

    • I agree Mike. Was gonna post something along those lines, though not as long, but you seem to have covered the major bases. 🙂

      Christian or Islamic Kids praying on own, ok. No clerics or priests should be leading them ideally unless perhaps a free time club or some such and they choose to attend? Some kids play dungeons and dragons, some kids save their immortal souls. It’s all good.

      Adults praying on own ok. Mosques or churches preparing and donating food at events, also ok.

      Taking kids to churches or mosques as part of school event i’d say is a slippery slope, especially if they have no choice in the matter. An after school optional activity where all students are invited and teachers volunteer their time for would be perfectly fine.

      Paid coaches telling all kids to bow heads and pray to Jesus christ our savior, not really as ok – especially if parents or kids object and are Jewish or Hindu or Church of Elvis-ites.. Would you want an Islamic cleric or Budhist priest have you pray to Mohammed or Budda?

  3. Well, Mike, by your logic, folks should then not be allowed to vote in a place of worship. I mean isn’t that a conflict of interest? It’s all very silly, really. No one is trying to cram any of their beliefs upon innocent children.

        • NO! Not as long as it were not mandatory.

          I have told you many times — and you have ignored me every time — that I have no problem with individuals. My issue is with ISLAM, itself. And then, only because it is antithetical to the preservation of individual rights and liberty.

          But then, I doubt you understand the difference now as you’ve never shown any understanding of it in the past.

        • NO! Not as long as it were not mandatory, and people stopped lying about Islam so the people going to eat with the Muslims knew what their RELIGION teaches. That way they can make an honestly informed decision for themselves.

          I have told you many times — and you have ignored me every time — that I have no problem with individuals. My issue is with ISLAM, itself. And then, only because it is antithetical to the preservation of individual rights and liberty.

          But then, I doubt you understand the difference now as you’ve never shown any understanding of it in the past.

          • I heard you the first time! I understand you perfectly well. I believe they would be missing out by not dining on Middle Eastern cuisine; I’m quite fond of it. Reckon there needs to be a separation of Church and Food, though, huh?

            In Mike’s defense, I believe he is primarily referencing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. This is what you get when the govt. is involved in education…..

    • Voting in churches is not forced upon anyone. If you do not appreciate the charitable nature of the church offering it’s space to support your right to vote, then by all means …. take your ass to the local Supervisor of Elections office.

      I for one, do not want to pay one red cent of taxpayer monies placing polling places all over the place.

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