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Coach Deion Sanders Should Be Free to Pray

The Freedom From Religion Foundation accused NFL Hall of Famer and new University of Colorado football coach Deion Sanders of forcing his Christian faith on student athletes.

03/21/23

John Stonestreet

Jared Hayden

Earlier this year, the Freedom From Religion Foundation accused NFL Hall of Famer and new University of Colorado football coach Deion Sanders of forcing his Christian faith on student athletes. Apparently, Sanders opens team meetings with prayer. According to these activists, this amounts to “school-sponsored proselytizing.”  

What these activists have missed is the difference between expression and coercion. As First Liberty counsel Keisha Russell put it, Sanders “does not lose his constitutional right to free exercise of religion simply because he is an employee at CU.”  

This is exactly what the Supreme Court ruled last year in a case similar to Sanders’: Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. In that case, Joe Kennedy, a football coach at a public high school, was vindicated against the school district that terminated his employment for praying before and after football games.  

Deion Sanders’ practices are no different. As our founders knew, religion is indispensable to a free and flourishing society. Public institutions should not censor private religious practice. 

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