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Clemson responds to group’s ‘too religious’ complaint

Dabo Swinney AP

It was reported earlier this week that a group of individuals with too much time on its hands and not nearly enough of a life had filed a formal complaint to Clemson alleging that Dabo Swinney‘s football program blurs the line between the separation of church and state as mandated in the U.S. Constitution.

An attorney for the Freedom From Religion Foundation stated that “the football coaching staff is doing a number of things to promote Christianity to their student-athletes” such as conducting Bible studies with their players.  A school spokesperson subsequently fired back that “no one is required to participate in any religious activities related to the football program” and that any participation is strictly voluntary.

Thursday, the university released a lengthier rebuttal to the group’s accusations, stating that “the FFRF is mistaken in its assessment” of the religious atmosphere in and around the Tigers football program.  Below is the school’s statement, in its entirety:

“We believe the practices of the football staff regarding religion are compliant with the Constitution and appropriately accommodate differing religious views. Participation in religious activities is purely voluntary, and there are no repercussions for students who decline to do so. We are not aware of any complaints from current or former student-athletes about feeling pressured or forced to participate in religious activities.

“Clemson takes very seriously its obligation to provide a comprehensive program for the development and welfare of our student-athletes ¬ which encompasses academic, athletic and personal support, including support for their spiritual needs.

“We will evaluate the complaints raised in the letter and will respond directly to the organization, but we believe FFRF is mistaken in its assessment. The Supreme Court has expressly upheld the right of public bodies to employ chaplains and has noted that the use of prayer is not in conflict with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.”

(Tip O’ the Cap:

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24 Responses to “Clemson responds to group’s ‘too religious’ complaint”
  1. 65impala says: Apr 18, 2014 2:55 PM

    All the FFRF wants is for someone to acknowledge their existence, by making false accusations to get a response. Just ignore them if you are not doing what they say.

  2. lbroberts123 says: Apr 18, 2014 3:02 PM

    Suck on that, FFRF.

  3. santeechief says: Apr 18, 2014 3:04 PM

    Don’t you mean: “NO one is required to participate in any religious activities related to the football program” and that any participation is strictly voluntary.

    Otherwise, that sentence seems a little self contradictory…

  4. peopletrains says: Apr 18, 2014 3:07 PM


  5. classyjacklambert says: Apr 18, 2014 3:10 PM

    I think America needs to get over this hypersensitivity to anything involving religion.

  6. mauldawg says: Apr 18, 2014 3:28 PM

    Not Rednecks,left wing trash!

  7. bat42boy says: Apr 18, 2014 3:29 PM

    Most football teams more religion than less. Maybe then there wouldn’t be so many police reports from college players.

  8. breadslicer says: Apr 18, 2014 3:33 PM

    PFT’s flippant attitude towards something deemed important enough to define in the 1st amendment to the constitution of the United States is noted.

  9. santeechief says: Apr 18, 2014 3:34 PM

    Breadslicer, it’s a blog, not a news organization…

  10. ningenito78 says: Apr 18, 2014 4:26 PM

    @breadslicer it’s called You made a wrong turn. Bye.

  11. irishdodger says: Apr 18, 2014 4:36 PM

    I believe this topic gets covered by recruits’ families in the recruiting process. If the parents or athlete are concerned about religious views of the staff then they can base that as part of their decision of which school to pick. I suspect most coaches are irreligious or are proud to discuss their faith. Is there some rights group that protests that coaches use profanity too much? This is stupid.

  12. Deb says: Apr 18, 2014 4:37 PM

    The Freedom From Religion Foundation isn’t interested in upholding the Constitution; it just wants to pick fights with people of faith, particularly with Christians.

    I believe strongly in the separation of church and state, but this group repeatedly attacks people who aren’t abusing that separation. Individuals have a right to start their own voluntary faith study groups that aren’t funded by public institutions–and FFRF knows that. They just want to force schools and public institutions to waste money fighting frivolous claims. Their name says it all. They don’t believe in freedom of religion–they want to force people to abandon religion, which is unConstitutional.

  13. tngilmer says: Apr 18, 2014 5:11 PM

    FFRF = trial lawyers trying to get a payday. Shakespeare was right, first thing we do is kill all the lawyers.

  14. floridacock says: Apr 18, 2014 6:11 PM

    left wing??? Afraid your wings are backward, if that had any bearing at all.

  15. floridacock says: Apr 18, 2014 6:12 PM

    May Dabo always be the Tigers coach.

  16. keltictim says: Apr 18, 2014 8:31 PM

    Well done clemson. God that hurts to say

  17. Barry's Triceps says: Apr 19, 2014 1:47 AM

    Freedom from religion

    Probably another leftist organization financed by liberal billionaires, whose members complain about right wing organizations funded from conservative billionaires. The never ending cycle.

    Aren’t we all sick of it yet?

  18. onbucky96 says: Apr 19, 2014 4:17 AM

    I love football but don’t need all the Gospel here. #bornfinethe1sttime

  19. proudofuga says: Apr 19, 2014 9:09 AM

    separation of church and state is NOT in the US constitution btw. Just in case that minor detail has any relevance on this discussion.

  20. germanflats13a38 says: Apr 19, 2014 11:20 AM

    The terms “freedom of religion,” “freedom from religion,” and “separation of church and state” are not expressly stated in the Constitution.

    @ proudofuga

    Please read the background on the “establishment” clause, and Thomas Jefferson’s righting on the subject. It fully explains the basis of the concepts protected by the constitution and limitations placed upon our governments.

    I’m surprised so many people place their full trust in a highly paid public official. I’m surprised so many conservatives have no questionable regard as to the application of personal beliefs applied within an arena distinct from the basis of those beliefs. I fail to understand how conservatives have no fear that the public official will misuse their position of power.

  21. tigersfandan says: Apr 19, 2014 6:48 PM

    Deb said it about as well as it could be said. Now I expect FFRF will drop this temporarily so that they can go on a rampage against Easter.

  22. adambruce88 says: Apr 20, 2014 12:39 PM

    after the beating FSU administered to the tigers , religion is the only alternative. when you are completly dominated mentally , physically and spiritually, you understand that the only way you can compete with a vastly superior opponent is with the help of a higher being.

  23. dhardy8207 says: Apr 20, 2014 5:28 PM

    And now the latest, the sister of this particular group is calling on the Secretary of Defense to stop the military from participating in the National Day of Prayer ceremony.

  24. daniel2d says: Apr 22, 2014 8:45 PM

    FFRF is not anti-religious. They are concerned with the separation of religion and state sponsored activities where it could be inferred that the government through its employees or elected officials are favoring one religion over another which violates the establishment clause of the constitution.

    Clemson is a state institution. It should not be advocating one religion over another, which it does when employees assert their religion over players which they essentially supervise. Yeah, you say they players could opt out but at the expense of being different than the other players.

    A good policy would be be keep religion out of the government workplace. That way you won’t have to accommodate other religions when complain that they are being left out.

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