Atheist group demands Alabama school stop holding baptisms on campus

A Wisconsin-based atheist organization is demanding that an Alabama school district stop allowing baptisms to be performed on its property during after-school activities.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Washington County Schools following an event last month in which 18 high school football players were baptized with their coaches overseeing the ceremony.  

Washington High School County’s football team posted a photo of the baptism event on their Facebook page and placed it as their cover photo, with other photos and videos being posted elsewhere to social media.

Christopher Line of FFRF wrote to Superintendent John Dickey in late May, arguing that the event was “illegal” and involved an unconstitutional school endorsement of religion.

“It is inappropriate for a public school district to proselytize students by organizing a team baptism. It is equally inappropriate and unconstitutional for coaches to have participated, even if students or the [Fellowship of Christian Athletes] organized the baptism,” wrote Line. “It is well settled that public schools may not advance or promote religion. Courts have consistently held that it is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, or lead religious activity at public high school athletic events, such as football practice.”

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