Alex Blaze

A school official took students to a church to be baptized

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 10, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living
Tags: ACLU, baptism, football game, Kentucky, religion, separation of church and state, state

A mother is considering suing her son's school after the football coach took them on a field trip to a church and had him baptized. Seriously, a school official thought it would be a great idea to take a group of students, without parental permission, down to a church to get baptized.

It's another reminder that whenever the Right complains about something the Left might possibly do in the future, it means that they're already doing it more boldly, dishonestly, and causing a whole lot more trouble. Remember this?

The coach doesn't seem to understand what all the huss-fuss is about:

Breckinridge County High School Coach Scott Mooney last month used a public school bus to transport the kids approximately 35 miles but arranged for a volunteer driver and promised to pay for the gas himself, according to Superintendent Janet Meeks, who attended the service and witnessed the baptisms of her public school students.

"It was completely voluntary," Meeks told, noting that of the team's 46 players, about 20 elected to go on the trip. Of those attendees, nine were baptized.

"They didn't get anything for attending," she said. "They didn't get anything for not attending."

After all the "I don't want my tax dollars going to..." someone on the right just doesn't understand why taking kids in a school bus to go get baptized is inappropriate?

This is the same group of people who made a fetish out of "parents' rights" when it came to keeping condoms and comprehensive sex ed out of schools, teaching kids that their state allows same-sex couples to marry, and having to listen to the president of their country talk about staying in school. And now they have no idea why someone would be upset that their school sanctioned a field trip to a church to get baptized:

The mothers of one of the baptized boys has said publicly that she was upset to learn her son had been baptized without her consent on a trip sponsored by a public school employee.

"Nobody should push their faith on anybody else," Michelle Ammons told the Louisville Courier-Journal." They have no right to take my son on a school bus across county lines to a church to be baptized."

But Meeks said that Ammons was the only parent to express disatisfaction with the trip. A couple of parents were in church at the time of the service.[...]

But Meeks said she did not see the trip as pushing religious beliefs on anyone.

"The intent was all good. It's unfortunate it's gotten to this," Meeks said. "Certainly it was not our intent to violate anyone's rights."

Ammons, who could not be reached for comment, told the Courier-Journal that while she was raised Baptist and her husband Catholic, they wanted their son to wait until he was 18 to make religious decisions for himself.

"We felt he was brainwashed," she told the newspaper.

Ammons has every right to be upset. There is a huge difference between having a diversity day that talks about respecting other religions (which the Religious Right always uses to pull out the "religious freedom" card) and taking students to a church to be baptized. Meeks shrugs her off as if she's some sort of loon to be upset that the school took her son to a church to be baptized, but if he doesn't get why an American wouldn't want the state to decide what religion their child is, then he simply shouldn't be working in a public school.

The Religious Right never gave a flying fuck about religious freedom or parents' rights. It was always a ruse they made up to cover the fact that they just want their religion to have more power than all the others.

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This REALLY bothers me. I had a friend on Facebook send me an invitation to join her cause to put the Bible back in schools, in Georgia. I went ballistic. It's bad enough the ACLU had to force Cobb County to take the damn stickers from the front of the biology book on evolution being a theory. But, to put in a religious class teaching the Bible, using MY tax dollars is way too much. I may be a Christian, but I will fight like a pit bull to keep religion out of public schools. It belongs in a church. Period. And, if parents are too lazy to teach their own kids about their religion, then you ain't getting my tax dollars to placate your laziness.

I agree Monica! FYI, I got the same invite from a Facebook 'friend' recently. When I took a closer look at their profile info, I discovered this former HS classmate listed "Christian" and "conservative" as their religious and political views. Several quotes they listed led me to un-friend them immeidately. If they won't accept me for who I am now, they are no 'friend' of mine.
You can teach religion in schools as long as you teach ALL religions, not just one or two. That is why I get so tired of the religious reich's "it's my (way (religion) or the highway" position.
Funny; isn't separation of church and state one of the things we fought about in 1776?

Paige Listerud | September 10, 2009 4:15 PM

While parental support for a suit against the school would be more effective, I think it's totally legitimate for the ACLU to sue this school without for breach of the separation of church and state. This act is reprehensible. And the coach should be fired.

Just asinine! People are so STOOPID!

Alex, are you sure they were the victims for forced bussing to get BAPT-ized? Are you sure it wasn't CIRCUMS-ied? Unfortunately, I've mislaid the clipping I thought I saw the correct version in.

Regan DuCasse | September 10, 2009 6:42 PM

Churches can easily be found in every town in America. Sometimes they will have ONE drugstore, but eight churches of all denominations. One can have a Bible at home, take one along when one travels. Commune with God in virtually every private and many public venues in our society. One can gather with like minded individuals at home, OR attend the church of one's choosing.

And many schools allow for religious social clubs that a young person can choose to attend as well.

So, there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE or REASON for a particular denomination to force or demand that a certain religion be given ALL ACCESS in public schools.
There is quite enough accommodation as it is, and there SHOULD be a line because a public school is mandatory (and religious belief is not) and other faiths or non faiths are to be accommodated in these environments.
This mother has every right to sue and be concerned. She was not consulted, nor was there any notice.

It is illegal to keep a child from an education. It is NOT illegal (nor immoral) to keep a child from a religious one.
If Christians like this coach don't want to find themselves restricted from public schools, they better respect what freedoms they DO have and the freedoms of others.

It is ok to discuss religion as part of a teaching unit. It is not ok to evangelize at school. What if some of the students in that group had been Buddhist or Muslim, or even Catholic, since they only want you to be baptized in THEIR church. At a public high school in Atlanta a Jewish teacher held a seder and took the students to a temple. It was part of a study on religion that the students' had requested because their teacher's faith was different from their own. But he got permission from the parents of the students who were under 18 and he did not push Judaism on them.

What bothers me about this story is that not only should the teacher have known better, but the Superintendent participated! It is part of her job to understand school law and the separation of church and state. She was the one who should have told the teacher he could not arrange a baptism!

There is nothing wrong with leading a student to Jesus Christ by a teacher, but it must not be done on school time. There is also nothing illegal about reading the Bible at school, as long as it is part of a lesson, such as in history or literature class. There is also nothing against the law about prayer in school. Students and teachers do it often, especially around standardized testing time and when a teacher has a death in the family. What is not allowed is prayer required or organized by teachers where the students are expected or required to participate.

It is a myth that God was kicked out of the public schools. What was kicked out was organized expression of religious faith. Both the liberals and the conservatives confuse this. The law guarantees freedom to choose your religious faith. It guarantees that you cannot be coerced into a certain set of beliefs and that tax money will not be used to support religious beliefs. It does not guarantee that your world will be free of public religious expression. You just don't have to participate. Jesus did not coerce anyone.

I get angrily amused at the slogan--Put God back into our schools.
1) Folks can't put God anywhere
2) God never left--so how can God be returned.
3) Putting prayer back into schools is not an accurate phrase. What's really intended is--Let us inflict our sectarian prayer on everyone else.
Being a minister myself, I get upset when the Religious Right assists attempts to say that they are the majority voice of Christianity. NOT TRUE!In junior high I got tired of the drivel called devotionals that students endured every morning. I wanted to do something different and was adamantly refused.

Believers can't reproduce, they have to RECRUIT! I recall stories fro a dozen years ago about kids at a school sponsored summer camp being baptised-Colorado sounds right.

Like I have said before, in my opinion, Christianity has been hijacked by various individuals and groups. For this to occur in a school settings is very sad. Where is the separation of church and state? I believe that it is good for people to have a spiritual basis for their life but not this way.

I think they should be "sued into the ground." As a country we MUST contain this insanity. There is a very, very fine line between religion and psychosis and in this current environment many people have crossed it. That's one problem. Allowing such people to damage our children's development is quite another.

As an atheist I feel our public schools should be doing much more of this kind of thing. Odds are they will be as successful at it as they are at teaching algebra and... well... civics.

Wayne Bradley | February 28, 2011 2:02 PM

This is reprehensible! I hope the coach was fired.

"It was completely voluntary," Meeks told ABC,"They didn't get anything for attending," she said. "They didn't get anything for not attending."

Of course it was voluntary. [Read: "You will volunteer to go if you ever want to get off the bench during one of my games!"] Anyone who ever served in the military understands this form of volunteering. "I want three, you, and you!"

Don't forget kids, in real Christian churches, it's normally babies that get baptized, not high school football players brought by Coach Brah after practice.

In fact I wonder how many of these kids were, in fact, already baptized. I would be apoplectic if my school sanction my child's anabaptism.