As followers of Jesus Christ, we are actively being challenged by those seeking to remove Christianity from our country. Many of the atheists challenging our first amendment right of religious liberty believe that freedom of religion means freedom from religion.
In recent weeks I have talked with you about atheists threatening to sue a small pizza shop for offering a discount on food if customers bring in a church bulletin and a threat of a lawsuit for a high school in Georgia whose coaches pray with their players. Now let’s talk about Orange County, Florida.
Troy Schmidt had been the volunteer chaplain for the Olympia High School football team. He was beginning his seventh year serving the team. For years Pastor Schmidt’s church took care of the football team. They served the team huge pre-game meals and loved just serving and caring for the players and coaches.
Before the start of this season, Schmidt received a call from school officials. Schmidt learned he was no longer permitted to be the team chaplain. In fact, all chaplains were removed from Orange county sports teams.
School spokesperson Shari Bobinski said this:
Students are more than welcome to lead their own prayers but our faculty and staff cannot be involved nor can we bring in an outside chaplain.
The school district sent out a memo to further clarify their position. The memo noted that Bible verses and references to the Bible are banned on school property. Bible verses are also prohibited on clothing produced by the school. And songs with religious lyrics may not be used in school-related videos.
Who is behind all this? The same group I have been talking with you about for the past several weeks…the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). One threat of a lawsuit and the Orange County School System collapsed.
A recent article noted that the FFRF sends out about 1,000 demand letters each year. However, they only have the budget to litigate about 12 cases each year. We simply cannot be so quick to cave in for a simple demand letter threatening to sue. We need some followers of Christ with backbones to stand up to this constant infringement by the FFRF.
Todd Starnes, who first reported on this incident had it right. He referred to this attack as a Christian cleansing. Our churches need to support these businesses that are being attacked. If we don’t speak up and get involved, we will find much more of this cleansing taking place all across our country.