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Last week, I posted about a public high school in Notasulga, Alabama where the head coach of the football team was among a group of staffers hosting a baptism for students on school property. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a letter to the administrators at Reeltown High School and its district urging them to put a stop to this before a lawsuit has to settle the matter for them. It was the appropriate move since this was obviously a promotion of Christianity by taxpayer-funded officials.

It’s hardly a shock that some people in the community aren’t taking that well. But one of the critics is Rep. Bradley Byrne, a Republican who represents Alabama in the U.S. House and is gunning for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Doug Jones.

Instead of acknowledging the constitutional violation, he issued a nasty statement against the attorneys defending the Establishment Clause before praising the coach for pushing Christianity on the kids.

I’m sick of these groups trying to tell us that we aren’t allowed to live out our faith. The Freedom from Religion Foundation needs to pack it up and stop forcing their ungodly, un-American views down our throats. The foundation says they want separation of church and state, but what they really want to is to rip God out of our nation altogether. I’m thankful for leaders like Coach Johnson who are doing the right thing and serving as positive role models to our young people.

He later added: “Helping bring a person to know Christ should be praised, not attacked.”

Like so many other Alabama Republicans, Byrne can’t get a sentence out without lying.

No one’s preventing Christians from practicing their faith. The issue is pressuring students to adopt it, which is what courts have repeatedly said is going on when a coach or teacher encourages kids to get baptized while on the clock.

FFRF isn’t telling kids to adopt atheism. And defending the Constitution is about the most “American” thing you can do. Byrne is the guy who doesn’t have a handle on the document.

FFRF isn’t ripping God out of anything. They’re not shutting down churches. They’re not saying students or teachers or coaches can’t pray on their own. They sent a letter that boils down to, “This wouldn’t be okay if a Muslim or atheist coach did it, and it’s not okay when a Christian one does it, either.” That’s it. That’s why Byrne is infuriated.

Coach Matt Johnson didn’t do the right thing. He screwed up. He ought to apologize to the students and the public at large. He’s not alone. The district needs to apologize for not stopping him earlier. There’s plenty of irresponsibility to go around.

Finally, bringing someone to Christ is a waste of time, but that’s irrelevant. If the coach served as a youth pastor and converted kids who attended his church, this wouldn’t be a legal issue. He did it in a position of authority in a way that pressures kids into going along with it.

It’s never good when someone who’s sworn an oath to defend the Constitution can’t even be bothered to understand its basics, but what else do you expect from a guy who belongs to the party that thinks alleged pedophile Roy Moore is a solid candidate for public office?

(Bottom screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Brian for the link)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.