The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is threatening to sue Auburn University after some 200 students participated in a spontaneous and unscripted mass baptism at a “Unite Auburn” worship event Tuesday night.
The “Unite Auburn” event featured performances by Christian worship band Passion and included speakers such as Jennie Allen, a Christian author, and Rev. Jonathan Pokluda, lead pastor of Harris Creek Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
Following the event, one individual reportedly wanted to be baptized, but a tub was not available for use. Seeking a solution, students began gathering at the lake.
Photographs and video footage from the event showed hundreds of college students lining the banks of the lake as students waded into the water to be baptized one by one over a two-hour period.
About 200 students chose to be baptized from a crowd of over 5,000.
According to the godless twits at FFRF, the First Amendment requires public universities to suppress all religious activity.
University-sponsored religious activities violate the U.S. Constitution, FFRF emphasizes.
“Auburn University is a public university, not a religious one. It is inappropriate and unconstitutional for university employees to use their university position to organize, promote or participate in a religious worship event,” FFRF Staff Attorney Chris Line writes to Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts. “These ongoing and repeated constitutional violations at the university create a coercive environment that excludes those students who don’t subscribe to the Christian views being pushed onto players by their coaches.”
The FFRF contends, against the corpus of Supreme Court decisions going back a couple of decades, that “The Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment requires government neutrality between religions, and between religion and nonreligion. When a public university’s staff members sponsor and participate in religious events, it violates this constitutional requirement by clearly favoring religion over nonreligion.”
For reasons that remain unclear, Governor Kay Ivey responded to FFRF as though it was a real organization and not the vacuous, Constitutionally illiterate, and morally stunted bunch of grifters that it is. She pointed out that faculty and staff have the right to free expression of religion.
The revival at Auburn is the latest in a series of campus revivals that began with Asbury University in Kentucky and grew to include Texas A&M and Baylor.
Though FFRF tarts up its objections in pseudo-legal gibberish, its real issue is its hatred of Christianity. The event was held outside of school hours. Attendance was voluntary. Baptism was voluntary. University staff attending the event had every right to be there and officiate if desired. The FFRF maligns Auburn football coach Hugh Freeze for coercing students into participation and receiving baptism:
Auburn’s sports programs are full of young and impressionable student athletes who would not risk giving up their scholarship, playing time or a good recommendation from their coach by speaking out or voluntarily opting out of any team religious activities — even if they strongly disagreed with his beliefs.
Coaches exert great influence and power over student athletes and those athletes will follow the lead of their coaches. Using public university coaching positions to inject religion into its sports programs amounts to religious coercion.
That might be true if it happened, but it didn’t. According to reports, Coach Freeze baptized one student who was a football player. Using FFRF’s logic, if the student had been baptized in a church anywhere, he would have been the victim of coercion because he might have been aware that Coach Freeze was an “out” Christian.
Baptism is a rite central to Christianity and practiced in varying ways across denominations. Baptism claims the soul of the believer for Christ and enables Salvation. The degree to which these impromptu baptisms result in a spiritual regeneration remains to be seen, but what can’t be doubted is that Christ claimed a couple of hundred souls. There is only one reason why anyone would oppose this. And that reason has nothing to do with the Constitution, church-state issues, or coercion and everything to do with demonic forces howling over the souls they lost.