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ACLU Lambastes Gridiron Prayer
By Tom Toolen
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.--Religious coaches in the high school, collegiate and professional football ranks have a common link—they all can be seen on their knees leading their players in prayer before and after games.
Which is all right with the majority of football fans who admire this public display of religious beliefs because they feel that faith has a great deal to do with the outcome of the game.
Divine motivation is cited by religious coaches who maintain that it spurs the players on to new heights on the gridiron.
That is all well and good for many teams and schools, especially in Florida, where a religious football coach is often elevated to icon—as long as he has a winning record.
Most of the openly religious coaches in the Sunshine State are evangelical Christians, although there are also a good number of Catholics too.
The mix of faith and football was the engine that drove the legendary Bobby Bowden, the head coach at Florida State University who recently retired after breaking all sorts of collegiate football records.
A dedicated evangelical Baptist, Bowden quoted Bible passages, chapter and verse, before, during and after every game and made no apologies about it.
“I want my players to know who I am, and who I am is a witness who openly talks about the greatness of our Savior,” he said. “The players do not have to agree with my faith, or even to have faith, but I want all of...Read More