Clemson's official statement on the Freedom From Religion Foundation
Earlier this week, it was reported the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter of complaint to Clemson University, citing "constitutional concerns about how the public university's football program is entangled with religion."
The group has urged the university to cease the athletics department’s emphasis on prayers, Bible studies and other religious activities, including busing players to local churches for Sunday services. In the complaint, foundation staff attorney Patrick Elliott said “Christian worship seems interwoven into Clemson’s football program. "
Clemson University's official statement on the FFRF matter is below:
We believe the practices of the football staff regarding religion are compliant with the Constitution and appropriately accommodate differing religious views. Participation in religious activities is purely voluntary, and there are no repercussions for students who decline to do so. We are not aware of any complaints from current or former student-athletes about feeling pressured or forced to participate in religious activities.
Clemson takes very seriously its obligation to provide a comprehensive program for the development and welfare of our student-athletes which encompasses academic, athletic and personal support, including support for their spiritual needs.
We will evaluate the complaints raised in the letter and will respond directly to the organization, but we believe FFRF is mistaken in its assessment. The Supreme Court has expressly upheld the right of public bodies to employ chaplains and has noted that the use of prayer is not in conflict with the principles of disestablishment and religious freedom.
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