School system defends coach after prayer complaint

ROSSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Officials at a northwest Georgia high school are defending its football team's practice of having student-led prayers and church-held meals before games.

Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines said at a Wednesday news conference that Ridgeland High School isn't violating the First Amendment rights of the players and that its football team will continue having the prayers and meals.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press reports that the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation accused football coach Mark Mariakis of taking athletes to church where a Christian message was preached, of leading postgame prayers and pressuring team members to attend a Christian football camp, along with other accusations.

Raines said he believes the coach is only using motivational speeches to encourage the athletes to display upstanding character on and off the field.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 12 months ago

Obama's attack on religion continues..........where is the Justice Department?


FryarTuk 2 years, 12 months ago

Does not look good for the coach to ridicule Mormon Church particularly after attending it and also in the presence of Mormon student athletes. Herein lies the wisdom of keeping religion and schools separate. Families and churches should teach and evangelize for religion and leave the public schools out of it. Too many varieties of the snake oil and somebody is going to get hurt or angry needlessly. BTW I hope the Dawgs handle Buffalo in their opening game better than last year's opponent.


Trustbuster 2 years, 12 months ago

I agree the coach should not have criticized another denomination. The prayer meetings should be voluntary. I hope the coach will follow his Christian principles.


mr_nobody 2 years, 12 months ago

I'm as "baptistic" as they come, and I think the coach acted like an idiot. Had he not been making light of another group's faith, this whole hoop-la wouldn't have happened, and they could have continued on as they were. Respect goes a long way, and it doesn't require agreement.


waltspecht 2 years, 12 months ago

Does anyone remember when there was an actual prayer before a game? I don't remember that ever hurting anyone. Sort of if you don't want to participate fine, but show some respect for others beliefs by being quiet. I can remember at Ebetts Field in Brooklyn at Dodgers games. If the National anthem was sung, you could hear it evn without speakers. Maybe not make out the words, but you could hear it. I wouldn't want to bet what would have happened to someone in the Fifties speaking or showing disrespect during that time. I know what my Dad would have done to us, or our friends if we dared to disrespect the Flag, or another's relegion.


Clyde 2 years, 12 months ago

I still see prayer before certain sports events. Nascar still has a prayer before every race and it seems that I'm seeing more and more athletes glorifying God in thier own way in football be it college or pro. The young man who played for the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricanes even had t-shirts made up with him pointing to the Heavens after a touchdown. Yes, it is wrong to put down another persons faith but making it against the law to show your faith and to glorify God in public is the beginning to the end of what makes America...America. IMO.


tywebb 2 years, 12 months ago

it only affects public schools. you'll never hear this complaint against sherwood christian academy. it also doesn't affect pro sports.


mnavie1111 2 years, 12 months ago

Sister ruby u act like one of those bitter sisters who heart was broken cuz her boyfriend left her for another woman. Did u and Obama date! Cuz u seem to relate every probl to him. Well u please find someone else. Just move on or pray about one.


Hoodie 2 years, 12 months ago

Same thing happened in Lee county while I played football as a Athiest i just laughed silently while the others prayed to a fairytale ghost.....Couldn't have cared in the least school food and the local preacher every home game.....


Margie 2 years, 11 months ago

No one should disrepect another's religion or faith. It is a personal choice. However, this country was built by our Founder Fathers in God we Trust. My personal opinion, and its just that, is one that when we began to remove God form the midst of this country and our lives, things just don't go well. Just as we should have repsect for others faith and religion those of us that BELIEVE in Jesus Christ as a savior, should also be allowed to pray when ever we desire to. I believe that we should have respect for our flag, but offer prayer to my Father is more important to be that pledging to the flag. Oh, I do make the pledge, but before I do, prayer will be and has to be first. I thank God for all the Christian schools in the America that allow teachesrs, coaches, students, and athletes to PRAY and not be penalized foe doing so. Prayer does change things, if its sincere.


Sister_Ruby 2 years, 11 months ago

Could we just take this story down off this site becaust it has been here long enough and it ain't nothing to start with .


tocar 2 years, 11 months ago

If an individual wants to participate in prayer before a game he should be allowed to. Those that do not want to participate do not have to. Remember our Founding Fathers.


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