Former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden claims that coaches need to lead their student players in prayer to stop school shootings.
Bowden made his comments on “Fox & Friends” in support of Joe Kennedy, a former high school football coach who lost his job because he would not stop praying with student players on the football field, in violation of the Establishment Clause:
Just like I said at the first of the program, by golly, if we’re not gonna raise our children, and not give them good things, and not have prayer with them, or for them, where are they gonna get it?
Where are they gonna get it? If we’re going to fire everybody that has a prayer with a team, man, I wonder what’s gonna happen to our young people?
It’s — surely everybody sees the problem going on in our schools today. People walking in off a street and killing 11 of ’em.
Killing 12 of ’em. Killing two of ’em, and things like that. You know it? I mean, we need something stronger than us to seize this. I think we need to go to the Man upstairs… I believe I’d rather be on the right side, and to me, that’s on God’s side.
The Friendly Atheist responded with logic:
Needless to say, school shootings have nothing to do with forcing kids to pray to a Christian God. Maybe we can point to a combination of easy access to guns and a desire for vengeance against classmates (especially girls who ignored you), but a lack of coercive prayers aren’t on the list of symptoms.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation noted in 2015 how Bowden regularly violated laws regarding the separation of church and state:
Bobby Bowden abused his publicly funded position of power and authority over vulnerable young men — both players and coaches — to impose his personal religion on them.
On August 27, 2014, Bobby Bowden appeared on Fox News to promote his book, “The Wisdom of Faith. “Bowden admitted to deliberately proselytizing his players with no regard for their belief or the law.
Fox News personality Elizabeth Hasselbeck gushed that Bowden “will feel himself a failure if he doesn’t share that message of Christ with others.”
Referring to a public high school team that removed a team chaplain after FFRF complained, Hasselbeck said, “But now teams are not going to be allowed — Orange County [Fla.] right now saying no place for faith in football. So that message that you’re giving Coach, is not going to perhaps be allowed on the football field anymore.”
She asked Bowden, “what do you think about that?” Bowden responded: “Well, I do it anyway. I did it anyway at Florida State. I don’t care about political correctness, I want to be spiritually correct.”
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