People are passionate about their religion and their football in our state. Many of these people have misunderstood the real issues raised by the Freedom From Religion Society in its complaint to Clemson University. Most commonly people see it as an attack on their religion. In fact, it is protecting religious freedom.
Freedom of religious choice, including no religion, is a principle that this country was founded on and one held dear by its citizens. Our First Amendment states the government will not establish a state religion in order to preserve this kind of religious freedom. Over the years our Supreme Court has defined this principle to mean not only that government may not establish a state religion, but that the state may not promote or favor one religion over any other religious or unbeliever orientation. This is to protect that wide range of individual beliefs.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is a paid representative of the state. It is really quite clear that organizing and encouraging Bible study groups or prayer groups or organizing attendance of a church service, even if “voluntary,” is promoting and favoring a religious view. In a similar situation, a supper prayer at VMI has been ruled unconstitutional.
The organization of the Clemson football team is unconstitutional and needs to be changed to protect people of all religious views.
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Peter H. Swanson