A Florida chaplain on Thursday accused a secular group of trying to turn him into an atheist because he was no longer allowed to pray with students at high school football games.
August 28, 2014

A Florida chaplain on Thursday accused a secular group of trying to turn him into an atheist because he was no longer allowed to pray with students at high school football games.

After receiving a complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the Orange County public school district recently ordered school leaders to ban chaplains from conducting school-sanctioned religious services.

During a Thursday interview with Fox & Friends host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Pastor Troy Schmidt explained that he used to pray with football players at Olympia High School until the district banned him.

"Well, I don't think they've read the Constitution," he said. "It's pretty clear that they cannot prohibit my free expression of my faith or the free expression of the coaches to express their faith. They're telling us to be atheists, when we want to say this is what we believe. And we want to express it freely like the Constitution says."

Schmidt said that he would continue to bring meals to the students, "but now we can't pray before the meals, we can't offer a little inspiration -- sort of pick-me-up before the game, nor can we pray afterwards."

The pastor insisted that he would not use the title of "life coach" because "I don't want to be turned into an atheist chaplain, which is what they're trying to do."

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