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Coach fired after allowing high school football team to be baptised on school grounds


School district officials at Tattnall County High School Coach sacked Isaac Ferrell for allowing a pastor to baptise 20 high school players on school grounds.

Christian communities were outraged by the decision, which followed a complaint from an atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation. They objected to pupils being baptised on school property, claiming that “the safety and security of our students is paramount”. They protested to the school district, accusing Ferrell of ‘abusing his position’ by inviting the pastor. Staff attorney Christopher Line ordered that they “ensure that this school-sponsored religious coercion ends immediately.”

Tattnall County Football posted footage on social media featuring students on the pitch standing around a small metal bath filled with water. Then they stepped into the tub and sat down with their legs over the side. A local pastor standing next to the tub said to each of them: “I baptise you now, my brother, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”. Then he briskly lowered the boys’ heads under the water. 

The footage had the following description: “Yesterday, after practice, Coach Ferrell gave the guys the opportunity to be baptised by Pastor Few. Twenty young men made the decision to go #ALLIN with Christ!! Show them some support. #BiggerThanFootball.”

The baptised boys’ parents expressed their support for Coach Ferrell’s initiative. One of the mothers, Latifa Johnson, said: “I was extremely proud of him because he made the decision on his own. I didn’t have to hold his hand, and he did it because he wanted to do it. It was so sweet because you see the boys and they looked like they wanted it. … You know, like everyone looked excited, from the ones I was able to see. So I was cheering. Thank you, God. Yes, yes, yes. I was all for it.”

There is a firm separation between church and state in the US, even though the First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees the right to ‘freedom of religion’. 

Team members expressed their grief over the decision, stating how “heartbroken” they were and that the coach’s faith “made him a good role model”. 



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