Militant Atheists Are Going After College Football Coaches

Mark Richt

They're at it again. Those super-tolerant folks at the Freedom From Religion Foundation are going after Christian believers who share their faith with others. This time, their target is college football and the coaches who use their belief in Jesus Christ as a springboard to improving the lives of their players.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has issued a report entitled "Pray to Play" in which they outline the...um...abuses from coaches at 25 different universities. Some of the alleged dastardly deeds these coaches engage in include hiring chaplains to pray with student athletes, baptizing players who are new believers, and raising funds for Christian charities. (Where's my fainting couch?) If you're a Christian, I'd urge you not to read this report, unless you want your blood pressure to go up.

I first became aware of this attack on Christian coaches when I found out that Mark Richt, the head coach at my alma mater, the University of Georgia, is part of this list of coaches under attack. Coach Richt is beloved by most true Georgia Bulldog fans (not the ones who call for his dismissal when we only win ten games in a season) for his honest approach to faith and for being a positive role model for his players and for the community at large.

But to the atheist busybodies, Coach Richt is a terrible man because one of the chaplains for the UGA Athletic Association is his brother-in-law, Kevin "Chappy" Hines.

Kevin "Chappy" Hynes, UGA's chaplain and brother-in-law to head coach Mark Richt, is on a mission to win souls, FFRF charges. Championships are great, but souls are better: "Our message at Georgia doesn't change, and that's to preach Christ and Him crucified, it's to win championships for the state of Georgia and win souls for the Kingdom of God, so we're going to continue down that path." He also "tr[ies] to get these guys plugged in to church..."

Hynes admits he seeks to convert non-Christians. "I tell people ... that come to Georgia that are not Christians and allow me to speak in their lives, I encourage them to walk with Jesus," Hynes said. "I encourage them to get into Bible study. I encourage them to get in the Word. I encourage them to memorize Scripture." Hynes regularly prays with players.

Here's a newsflash to the Godless Gestapo: Hynes wants to convert people to Christianity because that's what Jesus charged His followers to do. Disciples are supposed to make disciples. In the words of Jesus:

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

But wait, there's more. The Georgia Bulldogs' in-state rivals, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, don't escape the wrath of the hopeless haters either. The FFRF aim their guns at the Yellow Jackets' chaplain Derrick Moore:

Chaplain Derrick Moore is treated like a member of the coaching staff of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, leading pre-game prayers that blend football with religion, FFRF charges. His prayer before a 2011 game against Clemson begins: "As we get ready to go into attack mode, God, be with these boys." At the conclusion of the prayer, Moore wields his signature sledgehammer.

[...]

Chaplain Derrick Moore was paid $7,500 under his chaplain contract for the 2014 football season. His first task under the contract is to: "Provide Spiritual and Personal Development for Student Athletes (primarily the football program)." Moore has contracts with Georgia Tech dating back to at least 2011. According to school records, Georgia Tech paid him more than $14,000 in 2011 and 2012. Based on those school records, it appears that Georgia Tech has paid him more than $43,000 total.

Now, there are a lot of math majors at Georgia Tech, and I'm pretty sure that all of them would tell you that Moore can't live off  $7,500 a year alone, so I'll wager a guess that Georgia Tech isn't Moore's primary source of income. And "prayers that blend football with religion"? Moore isn't unusual there -- he's a red-blooded Southern boy!

The FFRF actually sent letters to the Georgia Tech players "to inform them of their constitutional rights." I can't help but point out, all rivalries aside, that the Tech players' rights include the right to practice religion if they want to.