The Freedom from Religion Foundation continue to wage an attack on college football programs, and this time team chaplains are the target.
Just days before the season officially kicked off last week, The FFRF sent legal letters to a number of high profile schools telling them to get rid of their team chaplains, or face a lawsuit.
The report from the FFRF claims, in part, that "Christian coaches and chaplains are converting football fields into mission fields", and that team chaplains are "imposing religion on players."
The list of schools that received letters according to ACLJ (a website that defends religious freedom on campuses) include Auburn, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Tennessee, LSU, Missouri, Washington, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Illinois, Mississippi, Wisconsin, and Clemson.
Just to refresh your memory, this is the same organization that went after Dabo Swinney and his program at Clemson for "being too religious" and that lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at Matt Campbell and Toledo for their private pre game prayer. The organization has also tried to remove The Pledge of Allegiance in schools and has attempted to get a court order to strike "In God We Trust" off all money as well.
The report cautions universities that it is in their best interest to "adopt policies that protect student athletes from discrimination and unlawful religious coercion." Instead of having chaplains, the FFRF recommends hiring a counselor who can provide advice and guidance. Programs that fail to comply with the recommendation may be subject to legal action.
In the mean time, the ACLJ is fighting the push from the FFRF with some legal letters of their own to college football programs to inform them of their Constitutional rights, so that they're fully aware of what is allowed.
With all that said, let me leave you with this thought: chaplains for college football programs provide much more than spiritual guidance, they act as mentors and sounding boards for kids during a pivotal time in their lives when they're away from their support system at home. The reason that college football programs have reserved a place for them at the table, and on the team bus, for decades goes far beyond their religious affiliation and starts with the value that they bring as individuals willing to serve others, all the while expecting nothing in return.