A Georgia school district is under fire after a video was posted online showing a group of football players and their coach being baptized on the field.
Local news station 11 Alive reports football players from Villa Rica High School took part in a mass baptism along with a coach. The baptism appears to have been orchestrated by members of First Baptist Villa Rica, as the church posted the video to YouTube.
The video was captioned, "We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!”
In a statement, the school district said, "The Carroll County School System was made aware of a situation that took place at Villa Rica High School prior to football practice on August 17th. The District is currently looking into the specifics of this situation and will take appropriate steps to ensure all state and federal laws are followed."
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has also gotten involved, sending a letter to the district claiming that the mass baptism was in violation of the First Amendment.
FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said, “I can’t remember another case like this. It’s really misusing the authority of the coach to promote his personal religious agenda.”
She continued, “Starting this video out, they call it a step of obedience, and then the camera pans to the students. It’s forcing them to undergo a religious ritual to be accepted on a team. How are they going to cross their coach? They have no choice. It’s proselytizing, it’s coercive, and it’s not legal in our schools.”
Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Publication date: September 2, 2015