July 11, 2018
Football fields are for playing -- not praying. That's the message from the extremists at Freedom from Religion Foundation. But if they were hoping to convince the coaches at Waldron High School, they'll have to try harder. The Arkansas community isn't about to apologize for inviting alum Konnor McKay to give a devotional before the team's summer camp. In fact, if anyone's sorry, it should be the secularists who are bullying towns like this one!
"I was invited to share an encouraging word with the football team," McKay said on Todd Starnes radio show. "I used Scripture and shared a message about teamwork -- how to work together in life." The time with his Bulldogs was so inspirational, Todd says, that the local newspaper published a story about it. FFRF, who likes to troll rural towns for expressions of faith, must have seen it and fired off a letter insisting that "players were subjected to Christian proselytization by evangelist Konnor McKay. It is a fundamental principle of Establishment Clause that public schools may not advance, prefer or promote religion."
First Liberty Institute would beg to differ. Attorney Michael Berry, who joined Todd to talk about the case, explained that Konnor didn't "proselytize." He didn't hold an altar call on the football field or baptize anyone. "He was invited by the head coach to give an encouraging word at football camp, which he did," Berry said. "When FFRF found out [about it] they made false accusations against McKay and demanded he not be allowed back."
McKay, who says support has poured in from all across Arkansas, can't understand the Foundation's gripe. "I'm a little bit shocked to be quite honest with you," McKay told me. "This guy from Wisconsin -- why does he care what is happening in Scott County, Arkansas?" Good question. The Foundation has been put in its place by so many courts that they have a new game plan: intimidate small towns that they believe either don't have the money – or the will -- to fight back.
Unfortunately for them, the Bulldogs have some good defense in First Liberty. And if the Foundation wants to shut down faith on the field, they'll have to get through them -- and the Constitution -- first.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.