On November 3, an assistant coach for the Norman (Oklahoma) High School football team was seen praying with about a dozen of his student athletes before the game.

Now, he’s being investigated.

Yes, it seems that just about everything is subject to investigation these days. This time the investigation comes at the behest of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which has made it its business to complain about this sort of thing. They say that this complaint was sparked by a “concerned parent.” “Please inform us in writing,” they told administrators at the Norman Public Schools, “of the steps the district is taking to remedy this serious violation of the First Amendment.”


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You know, when it comes to religion, I seem to recall the First Amendment mentioning something called “the free exercise thereof.” But the FFRF will have none of it, even posting a 15-second video of the prayer on Facebook. It occurs to me that if their Facebook friends truly desire to be free from religion, they might want to exercise caution in following this group online. Seeing the video they posted, with its overt expression of religious faith clearly on display, might traumatize them so much that they might be too weak to hold up a protest sign. Although protest signs aren’t really their style; courtrooms are.

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Comments 1-49 of 49

  • Gary Soltow

    11/24/2017 09:30 PM

    It seems to me that this Freedom From Religion group is the one violating the first amendment, not the coach. In fact, the coach seems to be exercising his first amendment rights.

  • Sam Stone

    11/24/2017 09:08 AM

    If FFRF was wrong, the courts would not support their claims. In fact, they continue have rulings in their favor.

    Your essay is like blaming the cop for giving you a ticket for speeding by arguing the cops should go away and mind their own business. FFRF is enforcers of the established Jeffersonian principle that says state and church should remain separate. Until the courts stop agreeing with their claims, expect to see more and more lawsuits against inappropriate behavior by coaches and teachers during school hours. On their own time, they can pray as much as they want.

  • Peter Gromacki

    11/24/2017 12:15 AM

    I sure hope and pray thousands of Christians across America support that assistant football coach for praying with his players prior to a game. Removing God from the lives of our youth has led to widespread depression and drug use across this nation. Let us know how we can support this coach. Regards. Peter Middletown, NY

  • David Gamble

    11/23/2017 11:16 PM

    Mike,
    Got a great idea, you just tell us where to send the ten bucks, my family as well as all those on our congregation will be happy to donate to legal council for this, it is IMPORTANT!!!!

    Pastor David Gamble
    907-787-9215
    Anchorage Alaska

  • Lenda Marshall

    11/23/2017 09:48 AM

    Where is the "Freedom of Speech" in what he did?

  • Silent Hammer

    11/22/2017 11:16 AM

    Had this coach and players been "praying to Allah", what would have been the "concerned citizen's" (really?) "concern"? And for WHAT is this coach being "investigated"? I suggest the school district tell the FFR group to go to Iran and try their "concerns" there. The Constitution of The United States does NOT prohibit public prayer. Far from it! It is worded so that the Government (Administration) Shall Not Impose a State Religion upon its nation's citizenry. "Congress" -- you know...the LAWMAKERS for the Nation -- "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the FREE EXERCISE thereof, or the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE peaceably to assemble". WHAT investigation?

  • Karen Craig

    11/22/2017 10:08 AM

    I tried repeatedly to share this article on facebook. However it didn't work, I kept getting all these obnoxious popups which were threatening to share in place of the article I'd chosen to share. Anyway to fix this? I kept closing them and trying again, but another one would muscle in to try to be shared.

  • James & Lynn Jonas

    11/22/2017 09:50 AM

    If you don't like prayer, LEAVE AMERICA! So sick of these so-called groups trying to tear down Christianity.

  • Ruth Rumple

    11/22/2017 09:13 AM

    I admire the assistant coach and the students for not being afraid to show their belief and love of GOD! They are to be applauded! I also was so happy to see your daughter asking what everyone was thankful for at the press conference. You must be so proud of her! I think that she is the greatest and admire her so much! Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Jim Clark

    11/22/2017 08:54 AM

    Richard Reed. you are assuming that the coach "insisted" the team members pray with him. For all we know it could have been voluntary or the team could have asked the coach to pray with them.

  • Mike L Salyer

    11/22/2017 08:34 AM

    I commend this coach and his team and wish there were more like them throughout the nation.
    Love for God and country is what it is all about.

  • Lula Broome

    11/22/2017 03:15 AM

    I know that prayer is the most powerful tool that we as believers in Jesus Christ can utilize and I will continue to pray for the situations in the United States of America and throughout the world. However, I would like to know what and how I can stand with other believers against the 'MINIORITY". It used to be in my lifetime when the MAJORITY counted for something. I am sure that there are many Christians throughout our land that want to voice their opinions as well. We might be listened to in large numbers.....but then.....I go back to the election and many folks do not believe that we actually won the election by electing Donald Trump!!

  • Beverly R Miller

    11/22/2017 12:19 AM

    It seems to me that the students have a better understanding of the meaning of the first amendment than the parent(s) have.

  • David Peterson

    11/21/2017 10:33 PM

    Sarah is doing a tremendous job! Love your commentaries.

  • Lincoln Nail

    11/21/2017 09:59 PM

    Or maybe we need someone to actually stand up to this foundation and remind them that the constitution doesn’t state freedom _from_ religion, but freedom OF religion. Meaning no one can tell you that you can OR can’t worship any religion.

  • Raymond Reed

    11/21/2017 09:18 PM

    Matthew 22:20-22: Liberals and in particular "non-believers" also known as US Citizens are always creating a hostile environment when there is a division in their belief system. Jesus stated to "render unto Caesar ( the government) those things that belong to Caesar and unto God those things that are Gods". Therefore is there is a state or federal statue that prohibits praying my Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sihks, or Satanists then as Christians we must be respectful and submit to Caesars law.

    That being said in I Corinthians 10: 31: The Apostle Paul states, " that whither we eat or drink or WHATSOEVER YE DO do ALL to the GLORY of GOD". Obviously Paul is addressing the Christian church in Corinth. So this applies to Christians.

    So what side of the right is right ?

    Today there are multi cultural religions in our society. A Christian Coach "must not" demand that every player bow to a prayer that obviously is offensive to others of a different belief. An example would be a Muslim coach "making" Christians bow and pray to Allah.
    This would infuriate me as a father of numerous Christians sons. It applies in reverse condition, also.

    What to do ?

    Christian coach's must ask for only Christians to meet at a certain place to pray. Knowing what I know - I would ask every player to write down their name, and their parents religious affiliation and then the players religious affiliation. This would be documented.

    This documentation would then be presentable to anyone of interest including any "witch hunters" and in essence would "prove" that no attempt was used to co horse or make or demand that any other religious player neal to a Christian prayer. (John 14:6).

    Also, this documentation, be it a one page and one person per page document ( so as to not present "peer pressure" in a one page multi name document " to the school administrators for future legal defense.

    Jesus showed us the way. He lighted the path in Matthew 22: 20 -22. Render unto Caesar those things that belong to Caseas and to GOD those things that belong to God. There are various religions that have a different God or supreme being other than the Christian God known as Jehovah or Yahweh.

  • Scott Smith

    11/21/2017 08:39 PM

    If Americans unite we can stop this infringement on our religious rights. We just have to unite and demand respect, just like BLM does it. Only we want everyone on our side, or the majority of them. The school board should have told them to go fish.

  • Patti Greene

    11/21/2017 07:36 PM

    This backwards, hateful group is attempting to infringe on the students' freedom to gather and Freedom to worship and free speech. We need something done to make this group sit down and shut up. They have the freedom to NOT worship. They need to be happy with that and leave the rest of us alone to enjoy OUR freedom to worship.

  • Abram Nichols

    11/21/2017 07:23 PM

    Thank you for posting this information, but please tell us what can be done. The attack on Christianity in America needs to cease . How long before we are on praying in our basements. Sad day in America that we have too few people in positions of power trying to put a end to this. We need to genu flex more ourselves before we are the ones in the closet.

  • Barbara Riefner

    11/21/2017 06:57 PM

    I can't believe that people are no longer free to pray when they want. If any of the kids did not want to pray, they could have voiced their feeling and walked away. What is this country coming to? Why can't we be free to acknowledge God if we choose. This doesn't make any sense to me and I am concerned at what kind of world my grandchildren will live in when they are adults. I think it is so sad.

  • Sue New

    11/21/2017 06:34 PM

    Mr. Huckabee,
    You probably remember my son, Evan New, who stood in for you a time or two at the church in Texarkana. He is in Heaven since 10/2006. When he was a junior and senior in high school, he took his Bible to school with his books every day. He would not be allowed to do that now but then it was a blessing and the school had no problem with him and other students. I wonder why all the leaders disappeared were who knew the value of Christians and Christian values. But it is totally allowed for some groups to have prayer time in school in prepared places or out on the streets if they desire? How can anyone in America not see the blatant hypocrisy in that? When did Americans turn against the God of heaven and earth? The same God who helped us become a nation with freedoms that attract and entice people from all over the world?

  • Jon D Philbrick

    11/21/2017 06:16 PM

    As you know, the Amendment states: Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press, and the signers of the document penned it to prevent what is exactly happening today based on what had been experienced in the past. Anyone doubting that should research historical writings of, not only the reason for the amendment but also the lives and beliefs of the signers. And yes, the "silent majority" should be silent no more.

  • Tony Hinton

    11/21/2017 06:15 PM

    These people attacking people who pray for Gods Blessing & Protection are not going to Stop their persecution of Christians until Someone STOPS Turning the other cheek. These people are Godless COMMUNIST, Brute Breast, Vessels of Dishonor to be Destroyed in Judgement.

  • Ronald Thomas Rasmussen

    11/21/2017 06:07 PM

    Investigate? For what? Inciting good morals? Get a life!

  • Larry Sparks

    11/21/2017 06:02 PM

    The primary goal of FFRF is to strip America of our religious freedom. From the local level to the national level, there is nothing that FFRF will not do to obstruct and hinder our cultural heritage and constitutional rights to worship and pray.

  • Jennifer Lyons

    11/21/2017 06:01 PM

    The Praying at the Football Game is amazing the investigators need to call the Christian Lawyers Association...and we need to use this organization as Christian ..excercise your constitutional rights

  • Geraldine F Habitz

    11/21/2017 05:53 PM

    I've watched Osteen and heard nothing but "feel good" stuff; I've never heard him refer to the gospel. Not only that, but he seems to be sleep-walking and talking......like a robot. I hate to be picky but why has Joyce Meyer abandoned women's clothes. I wonder if she reads the Bible? Deuteronomy 22:5King James Version (KJV) The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. I also have to wonder if the Pope ever read the Bible.

    King James Version (KJV)
    Public Domain

  • Dieter Fischer

    11/21/2017 05:46 PM

    Exactly what are parents concerned about, if their children were to watch a football team pray before a match?
    May the parents are worried about children asking questions about God and prayer? Woe to those adults who stop children from believing in God!

  • Suzie Umbel

    11/21/2017 05:35 PM

    My mother was from Norman Oklahoma.... we are under attack as Christians.... yet I? am holding fast to Jesus! He wrote the story, knows how the story ends, and I know that I am on His winning team! Praising God for all He has given!!

  • James Mott

    11/21/2017 05:18 PM

    Praise be to GOD for those willing to stand up for their faith in the beginning of religious persecution in America. Those who stand firm to the end will receive their crown of glory.

  • Richard saito

    11/21/2017 05:18 PM

    I’m really sick and tired of this Freedom From Religion Foundation because who died and put them in charge??!! We have the right to talk to anyone we want, including God and if it helps those who are speaking to God become better and more stable,why should someone stop us from doing that?! Point taken, they should not! And we also have rights, the right to talk to God if we want! Keep on praying people, you go Coach! Richard Saito, coach

  • Allan Bauman

    11/21/2017 04:52 PM

    We better stand up for God (not deny Him) or He might deny us and we might lose His protection.

  • Jody Robinson

    11/21/2017 04:50 PM

    I see about a dozen young men in this photo. I know there are more members on any football team anywhere, which tells me these boys had the option of praying or not. No coercion means no rules, no laws were broken. FFRF is just looking for trouble, creating what they can't find, and so filled with hate they will use young people to further their evil agenda!

  • Gleneva Higley

    11/21/2017 04:45 PM

    When will the "silent majority" be able to stand-up to the ACLU and demand our Christian rights?

  • Jeff Milligan

    11/21/2017 04:32 PM

    It appears that they like to twist the constitution to satisfy their own agenda. If they had any knowledge of history,which apparently they don't,the reference to the separation of church and state was to keep the church from being the government like it was in England. The constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom whether it's in a house of worship or a street corner or Central Park

  • Fay Jones

    11/21/2017 04:17 PM

    I thought it was fredom "of" religion, not freedom "from" religion.

  • James Daniel Marshall

    11/21/2017 04:13 PM

    In a day when women are demanding respect and freedom from sexual harassment and abuse, we need to ponder what creates an atmosphere that leads people to treat others with love and respect. Certainly not atheistic materialism. No, it is the approach that views all men as created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. It is the approach that sees all people as having value and worth because they were created in the image of God. Having a coach, or any other role model, pray shows respect for our Creator and an acknowledgement that we are accountable to Him and submissive to His ways. What is missing today is the influence of those role models. What we get is the results we see in Hollywood, Congress and the rest of our culture. People love things and use people instead of loving people and using things. We reap what we sow.

  • drew a bernard

    11/21/2017 04:13 PM

    greetings in His name Ndugu (bro.) Mike. Agree with Christine on the content of ye news letter. Ye appear quite often upon me fb page before AW Tozer and WHI daily posts. Govna, let them investigate all they want, dig and poke around like coal miners in a dark cave. One day they shall look UP and see how foolish their perceived wisdom has led them astray. One more item please. Have ye-self and the familia a most blessed and joyful Thanksgiving dinner as ye partake from HIS abundant bounty. Please remember me and other obedient servants in HIS "harvest fields" abroad. Luke 9 : 23

  • Susan bertuccelli

    11/21/2017 04:08 PM

    If the coach had started praying by himself and the players chose to participate, is that in violation of the first amendment? I actually do not understand how the words of the first amendment can be interpreted this way since it does not say freedom from religion

  • Ronald D. Scott

    11/21/2017 04:07 PM

    The ACLJ needs to file law suites against the school system or any federal or state agency that is investigating. These lawsuits need to be done EVERY TIME there is a wrongful investigation of our religious liberties. The old deep state needs to become so burdened by these suits that the drain on their resources from legal fees will freeze them from further attacks on our liberties.

  • robyn harris

    11/21/2017 03:49 PM

    We are also being censored by yahoo and google...I can no longer forward any christian emails or anything that pertains to truth like 2 websites natural news or dr. mercola.

    It is ridiculous...yahoo scrambles my emails if they pertain truth

  • Ann Brannan

    11/21/2017 03:49 PM

    The people in Cowetta Co. had the same thing happen to them. The football players decided they would pray any way. What can the Freedom From Religion do now? NOTHING! We need the majority to stand up they cannot fight us all, they are outnumbered!

  • Karen Rounds

    11/21/2017 03:45 PM

    Since it seems all non Christian or Jewish praying is acceptable, one would conclude under the circumstances they arent religions and therefore not protected under the 1st amendment. Im most tired of this double standard.
    Thanks for your great emails!

  • Barbara Miller

    11/21/2017 03:30 PM

    Is prayer the reason for Sooner success? Not!
    Hookem Horns!!
    Smile, Governor.

  • Daniel Tsukamoto

    11/21/2017 03:25 PM

    So, I need the U of OK to answer the question “What and why is the football coach investigated about?” They need to stop harassing the coach.

  • Nancy West

    11/21/2017 03:23 PM

    I enjoy your commentary and reach what you have written each time I receive them.

  • Elizabeth Shelton

    11/21/2017 03:22 PM

    Tell 'em to 'take a knee.'

  • Lee Anne Risk

    11/21/2017 03:15 PM

    What can we do? It has gotten way past the point of ridiculous. Thank you for helping make things clear. If you have any advice I'm surely open to it.

  • Marilyn Madore

    11/21/2017 01:21 PM

    Governor Huckabee-How far we have fallen, that we surrender our God-given rights to groups like FFRF. If we keep backing down, they win, just saw the DVD of the movie "Woodlawn"-That is the courage people of faith need to pray for(Holy Boldness) in these days. Keep informing us and keep speaking out. Perhaps we need a new Constitutional Amendment clarifying Freedom of Religion, with wording no judge can re-interpret or misinterpret.