After initially looking to eliminate a football team-prayer huddle, a Delaware school district has relented and will allow the prayer but only if the coaches are sidelined from the huddle.
Cape Henlopen School District Superintendent Robert Fulton had recently made moves to consider banning the huddle prayers on the playing field because of a letter from the anti-religion group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) threatening a lawsuit over concerns that the prayer huddles violated the “establishment clause” of the US Constitution.
Superintendent Fulton informed all district employees that they must be mindful of the purported proscriptions against introducing religion in public schools. This resulted in a decision by the team’s coaching staff to avoid joining the prayer huddle during the next scheduled game.
A spokeswoman for the FFRF said the activist group was satisfied with the compromise. “We’re satisfied with that. We’re expecting that staff, including coaches, are not going to be participating in prayers with the students in the future.”
The FFRF also said that it felt that litigation would not likely be necessary because “the law is pretty well established.”
But Bill Collick, the coach for the Cape Henlopen Vikings, noted that he has been joining in prayer with his team throughout his 40-year coaching career and never had anyone complain before.
Collick vowed to continue to “impart wisdom” on players regardless.
“We will continue to move forward and be about respect and do the things we know that good citizens and good people need to do,” he said.
Atheist groups like FFRF remain on the lookout for high schools that allow prayer. Only two months ago a school in Georgia was attacked for allowing prayer on the playing field. Earlier this month, a school in South Dakota was bullied into ending its high school football prayer.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com