Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle is making a pitch for why he should be Governor in 2018 by throwing atheists under the bus.
A fundraising letter sent by Cagle and obtained by the Atlanta Journal Constitution is stamped with the line, “Don’t Let Atheists Ban Georgia’s Football Chaplains.”
It’s a reference to the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s recent campaign calling out public universities that have Christian chaplains (some of whom are paid) preaching to the football team.
These chaplains preach religious doctrine, including apparently creationism, to the athletes. Some universities, like Missouri, paid for chaplains and their wives and children to attend bowl games. Other universities paid chaplains for their services, including the University of South Carolina, which has a policy prohibiting such payments. Other universities, such as Auburn, give chaplains offices in the stadium. Chaplains were also involved in recruiting prospective athletes, raising the possibility of violating NCCA regulations.
Chaplains regularly lead the teams in prayer, conduct chapel services, and more. These religious activities are not voluntary, as the universities claim, because, as the report notes, “student athletes are uniquely susceptible to coercion from coaches.” Players have educational, financial and career reasons to obey their coach, whatever he asks.
FFRF’s campaign is a sensible one, which Cagle and others would realize if these chaplains were preaching anything other than Christianity.
But Cagle has no problem, apparently, with taxpayer-funded schools (including Georgia and Georgia Tech) pushing Christianity on students. He hopes that using FFRF as the bogeyman will anger his base enough to donate to him, writing (bolding is mine):
Have you heard about the latest attempt by extreme atheists to remove chaplains from Georgia universities?
An out-of-state group, “The Freedom from Religion Foundation” has sent threatening letters to several Georgia universities demanding the schools dismiss their football team chaplains.
This is the same group who proudly offers DeBaptismal Certificates as a way to persuade folks into denouncing their faith!
They will never be happy until they’ve conformed our state to their out-of-touch ideology.
This is why I’ve announced my campaign to stand up for our conservative values and take “Freedom from Religion Foundation” head on, but I need your help.
FFRF’s “out-of-touch ideology” doesn’t involve replacing Christianity with atheism. It simply asks schools not to promote Christianity on the taxpayers’ dime. Students and athletes are welcome to seek out religious guidance on their own time. That’s it. That’s what Cagle thinks is so “extreme” it needs to be stopped.
It’s unclear to me how making a $2,500 donation to Cagle will give him the tools he needs to overturn the First Amendment, but logic has never been a strong suit for Republicans.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)