Georgia school district repudiates baptisms on football field

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Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

RNS photo courtesy Freedom from Religion Foundation

Annie Laurie Gaylor is co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

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ATLANTA (Reuters) Carroll County schools' assistant superintendent said in a statement on that the baptisms violated school district policy and that the district did not know the ceremony was scheduled to be held at the high school.

  • Larry

    “a coach had invited Pastor Kevin Williams of First Baptist Church of Villa Rica to perform the mass baptism.”

    And with that little bit of information goes any pretense that the event was not a coerced religious rite.

    To cut off the usual Christian theocrats early, public officials cannot use their position to endorse or support a given religion. The coach’s involvement makes the event go from what could plausibly be considered the students’ expression of religion into forced religious ritual. It doesn’t make it OK because it is a Christian ceremony. It is not the free exercise of religion of the coach because he is using his inherent authority to coerce others into joining in.

    Its telling that the church took down the video of the baptisms as soon as it was reported in the media. They knew it was the wrong thing but were hoping to slide by unnoticed. The school did the correct thing here.

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  • Loren Haas

    Pastor Williams is not as stupid as he pretends.
    A reasonable person would ask the school district if it was permissible to perform baptisms on the school grounds. He did this just to rile up folks over more staged persecution.
    Can you say Kim Davis?

  • Neon Genesis

    Perhaps the pastor should have read the U.S. constitution first instead of the rules of this pathetic excuse of a school.

  • Greg1

    I have no issue with either prayer on the football field, or other religious events, as long as the parents approve, and all present are in approval. The school is paid for by everyone’s money, including Christian taxpayers. I do, however, feel that this cheapens the Sacrament of Baptism (Matt 28:19), which is how one’s soul is joined to the body of Christ, his/her sins are forgiven, and making one a Christian (Colossians 2:12-13). So in that sense, we take what is holy, and make it almost a secular activity.

  • Larry

    Of course you chime in on exactly the wrong point here. The coach invited the priests. This was a coerced religious ritual.

    Christians do not get to hijack public resources in service of their faith. It’s illegal and an attack on the religious rights of those people paying taxes who aren’t Christian. Had this been an inam or Buddhist priest performing a rite on school grounds you would be gathering a lynch mob.

    Things don’t suddenly become acceptable because its done by Christians.

  • Larry

    The reply was to greg1’s post which got scrubbed. Not neon genesis

  • George Nixon Shuler

    It would seem playing football and becoming a Christian would be mutually exclusive, not just for the violence, but due to Paul’s dictum that “…when I became a man, I put away childish things….” Of course considering how many right-wing religious nuts are also crazy for football, such hypocricy is not surprising. Maybe head trauma is correllated to glossolalia.

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