Christian coach banned from praying after atheists’ complaint

An American football coach has been told he is no longer allowed to pray with his team – following complaints from atheists.

Coach John Small had been praying with players at East Coweta High School, Georgia.

But he has now been forced to stop after atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) sent a letter of complaint to the school.


FFRF legal fellow Christopher Line claimed that Coach Small should not “lead his team in prayer” or “advocate for students to lead team prayer” because of his position within the school.

After receiving the letter, the school decided to issue formal guidance on the matter.

It stated that school employees “cannot participate in any student initiated/student led prayer or worship while acting in their official capacity”.


The news comes shortly after another American football coach lost his legal case. Joe Kennedy was fired after rejecting demands to stop praying, bowing his head or kneeling.

He took his case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where judges ruled against him and claimed that his actions could be seen as state endorsement of religion.

First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty group which is supporting Kennedy, expressed dismay at the ruling.

Deputy General Counsel Mike Berry said: “We are deeply disappointed by the decision and will consider all options available to Coach Kennedy as we continue to review the opinion.”

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