A Georgia high school football coach was fired after he hosted a baptism service on school property for his players.
20 young men accepted Jesus Christ and took the plunge. The coach remains a teacher in the school district.
In a recent controversy at a Georgia high school, the head football coach, Isaac Ferrell, found himself at the center of a storm after organizing a baptism service for 20 of his players on school grounds. The incident, which took place on October 23rd, came to light when a video surfaced on the team’s official Facebook page, depicting players being baptized in a large black tub of water by a local pastor named Gary Few.
The footage shows Pastor Few individually guiding players to sit in the tub of water before performing the baptism ceremony, saying, “I baptize you now, my brother, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” as he dips their heads beneath the water while fellow players cheer in support.
The event sparked outrage among some members of the community, leading one individual to contact The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a group that advocates for the separation of state and church. They accused Coach Ferrell of abusing his position and committing a constitutional violation by promoting religious activities within a public school setting.
In a letter to Superintendent Kristen Waters dated November 1st, the foundation’s attorney, Chris Line, urged the school district to investigate the matter and put an end to what they considered school-sponsored religious coercion. Line emphasized the importance of educating all coaches and staff about their obligations as public school employees and demanded that the district refrain from introducing religious elements into its football program.
However, Superintendent Waters clarified that Coach Ferrell’s firing was not directly related to the baptism incident. She announced that it stemmed from an isolated incident that occurred after a football game on November 3rd. While the district did not comment on ongoing investigations into other allegations, Waters stated that Ferrell, who also teaches at the school, would retain his position while the investigation into the baptism service continued.
Despite the controversy, some parents and community members expressed support for Coach Ferrell’s actions. They commended him for his role in baptizing their sons, with one parent, Latifa Johnson, stating that she was “extremely proud” of her child for making the decision on his own. Johnson noted that the boys appeared genuinely excited about the baptism. Others on Facebook echoed this sentiment, highlighting the positive impact Coach Ferrell had on the players’ lives beyond just their performance on the football field.
In this contentious situation, opinions on Coach Ferrell’s actions remain divided, with some seeing it as a positive influence on the young athletes and others expressing concerns about the mixing of religion and public education.