Organization asks three SEC teams to remove team chaplains
A national organization has sent letters to three SEC schools asking that the position of chaplain on the football teams be removed.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent letters to Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina recently. In the past, the organization has sent letters to schools across the south, including Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Clemson.
The organization calls the chaplain’s presence unconstitutional.
“It makes no difference if the chaplain is unofficial, not school-sponsored, or a volunteer, because chaplains are given access to the team as a means for coaches to impose religion, usually Christianity, on their players,” the organization said in a letter sent to the schools. “Under the circumstances, the chaplain’s actions are attributable to the university and those actions are unconstitutional.”
The letter to Georgia also said, “For instance, UGA football coach Mark Richt brought his brother-in-law Kevin Hynes to be his team chaplain. Hynes, who is also the FCA director at UGA, has an office in Sanford Stadium and receives two season tickets as well as sideline passes to all games.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation organization operates “to promote the constitutional separation between state and church and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.”
While Georgia offered no immediate response, Auburn did, according to AL.com.
“Chaplains are common in many public institutions, including the US Congress. The football team chaplain isn’t an Auburn employee, and participation in activities he leads are voluntary.”