Published On: Wed, Sep 9th, 2015

ADF sends letter defending universities’ rights to have school chaplain

Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to 15 public universities Wednesday after they received complaints from Freedom From Religion Foundation which wrongly claimed that having football team chaplains is unconstitutional.
Ridgeland High School praying, Facebook photo

Ridgeland High School praying, Facebook photo

“Public universities should be commended, not attacked, for making chaplains available to student athletes who want them, especially since hectic team travel schedules often prevent students from participating in weekend worship services,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “Simply making these chaplains available does not somehow mean the schools are unconstitutionally endorsing any particular religion or even religion in general. The universities should simply ignore these unfounded demands from anti-religious groups, especially since the courts have upheld similar chaplain programs in a wide variety of other contexts for decades.”

“[P]ublic universities have great leeway in accommodating the religious needs of their students, and providing chaplains is one time-honored and constitutionally permissible method for doing so,” the ADF letters explain. “The Establishment Clause ‘affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any.’”
“No court has ever said that public universities may not utilize chaplains for their athletic teams,” the letters continue. “In fact, many courts have upheld chaplaincy programs in other similar contexts: the military, prisons, police and fire departments, hospitals, airports, and the legislative branches of government.”
ADF sent the letters to Auburn University, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina,Mississippi State University, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, Louisiana State University, University of Missouri, University of Washington, Georgia Institute of Technology,University of Illinois, Florida State University, University of Mississippi, University of Wisconsin, and Clemson University.
“We hope these universities will disregard the illegitimate demands of Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is distorting the true meaning of the First Amendment,” added ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Hacker.

Woodlawn football team praying


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  1. SpaghettiMonster says:

    The ADF is wrong. By not providing representatives from each faith, and requesting this one religion, they are endorsing Christianity. They could avoid all related issues by leaving religious matters to the players parents.

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