I will never understand why high school football teams that break the law by treating practices as church camps publicize it.
In Danville, Arkansas, Konnor McKay, a Christian minister, recently spoke at a public high school football summer camp — at the invitation of Waldron High School head coach Jonathan Bates.
That illegal act was celebrated in both a local newspaper and McKay’s own Facebook feed.
Today, I had the honor of sharing the word of God with several high school football teams from around our area including, Mansfield, Danville, Lavaca, Hackett, and Waldron! I am so appreciative of this opportunity from coach Johnathon Bates, and I pray something I said would impact their lives! I prayed God would bless it so I know he did! What an awesome awesome honor it is to serve God! We as a community should jump on board with Coach Bates and his coaching staff and support this program on the rise!
… This article came a surprise, and brought tears to my eyes. Jesus, use me!
[McKay’s] eloquent words of life, purpose, meaning, and yes, Faith echoed through the hearts of all who listened. Konnor McKay is no ordinary man. He is one whose passion for Waldron, the people, and Bulldog Football come no deeper, or stronger. His message of Faith solidifies his purpose, and gives meaning to his calling.
Now the Freedom From Religion Foundation is getting involved. In a letter sent by legal fellow Colin E. McNamara to Danville Public Schools Superintendent Gregg Grant, FFRF demanded that the District “not allow its football program to be used as a captive audience for evangelists.” (Similar letters were sent to other schools mentioned in the various posts.)
Requiring or even encouraging players to attend this camp sends a message approving of Christian evangelism — any player would reasonably conclude that the proselytization they experience at the camp has been “stamped with [the] school’s seal of approval.”
… Students should not have to choose between participating in school-sponsored programs and violating their right of conscience.
FFRF also noted that the camp being optional wasn’t a legitimate excuse. It was still a school-sponsored event.
The schools and McKay haven’t responded to the letters yet, but the only right answer will be to assure FFRF that this will never happen again. If the players want to hear preaching, they can go to church. Football practice isn’t the time for it.