Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Warning: "Do Not Instill Christianity in Vulnerable Young Men"
America's largest atheist organization is demanding that publicly funded universities take immediate action to bar coaches and chaplains from "converting football fields into mission fields."
The atheists claim coaches and chaplains are attempting to "instill Christianity in vulnerable young men."
They---the atheists, say they are working to protect the "right of conscience" of these young men and women, protecting them from the predatory practices of Christians.
In their report titled "Pray To Play," they note information received from the University of Washington "was very helpful."
Their demands are accompanied by a "Model Policy" that will guide public colleges and universities into compliance with law. If they don't comply, they can expect to be sued.
We have seen the US Military bow to the atheists regarding the personal religious freedom of military personnel. Careers have been ended or impaired for merely sharing one's personal religious beliefs with a colleague. Chaplains have been removed for teaching Scriptural truth. Pictures with even a hint of Christian content have been removed from the walls of military bases within hours of the Pentagon being notified.
Colleges and universities, including some "Christian" institutions, have already conformed to the homosexual agenda including so-called same-sex "marriage", gender fluidity, and a politically correct vernacular regarding gendered terms.
The atheist "Model Policy" is based on a research report they created titled, "Pray to Play." It's lengthy---35 pages, but worth the time and very informative as to how religious freedom is undermined.
Freedom From Religion Foundation was founded by and is currently run by a former evangelical preacher Dan Barker and wife Annie.
FFRF says, "Public universities and their employees cannot endorse, promote, or favor religion, yet many football coaches at public universities are bringing in chaplains---often from their church or even members of their own family---to prey on and pray with students, with no regard for the rights of those students or the Constitution."
They say these coaches are "turning football fields into mission fields."
In the report they note a copy of the business plan presented to the University of Washington by Fellowship of Christian Athletes was very helpful in their research.
On August 18, on behalf of FFRF, President Dan Barker and wife Annie wrote a letter to the University of Missouri chancellor, warning the university of the "legal liability that the University of Missouri exposes itself to by allowing its chaplaincy to continue," adding, "it is not a matter of if, but when, an issue will arise from this entanglement."
Included with the threatening letter, they included their newly minted "Model Policy" in which the chaplain will be replaced with a "character coach."
The Model Policy is also being sent out to a large number of other universities, cautioning them that if they fail to implement the "policy" or something similar, they are making student athletes vulnerable to discrimination and unlawful religious coercion.
In their "Model Policy," a "character coach" replaces the chaplain in "instilling secular values such as respect, perseverance, humility, sportsmanship and teamwork."
The character coach would be "explicitly prohibited from promoting a particular religious viewpoint, pressuring student-athletes to choose religion over non-religion."
To qualify to become a "character coach," an individual "must be trained in psychology, psychiatry, sports psychology, secular therapy, or a substantially equivalent field."
FFRF insists that "mere divinity or religious counseling experience" does not qualify a person to hold the character development position.
Freedom From Religion Foundation is not only attacking football chaplains, but basketball chaplains as well.
Last spring, RRFR sent letters to 6 universities, Wichita State, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Virginia and Oklahoma complaining that having chaplains is unconstitutional.
Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer David Hacker said at the time, "That's just plain wrong." ADF sent letters to schools explaining that public universities have a great deal of flexibility in accommodating the religious needs of their students.
ADF said universities should ignore these unfounded demands from anti-religious groups, especially since courts have upheld similar chaplain programs in a wide variety of other contexts for decades."
Time will tell how these universities respond to the threats of the atheists.
Ironically, the chaplains may not be the enemy the atheists think they are. The real banner carriers for Christ are the players themselves.
Many of the most outspoken Christian athletes in professional sports today were not silent about their faith in Jesus Christ while in college.
Tim Tebow is among the best known Christian athletes in the world. While in college he put the phrase "John 3:16" on the black glare reduction coloring under his eyes, because he knew millions would be watching him up close on television.
He was considered the best college football player in America.
In the pros, he had a difficult year with the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets, but he never wavered in his faith.
This year it is likely he will make the team with the Philadelphia Eagles. Coach Chip Kelly has said Tebow contributes to the team in many ways both off and on the field.
Mike Ditka, former Hall of Fame player and coach for the Chicago Bears, told 97.5 The Fanatic sports radio this past Thursday, "If I were still coaching, I would acquire Tim Tebow too. I think players like Tim Tebow are good for sports. They're good for football. They're good for our country."
Perhaps the atheists will also get around to seeing their value, but until that time, we trust the universities will see the value of Christian character and values in the athletes millions of Americans love to watch, and kids love to emulate.
Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.