JISHOU, HUNAN — So, it goes like this. A high school football coach loaded 20 of his players on a school bus, and took them to his church, where several of them were baptized while the school superintendent watched.
There were just two little problems with this trip. One, not all the kid’s parents signed off on this trip. Two, the kids go to a public school, so the coach and his superintendent more than likely violated federal law (like the Constitution).
Except they don’t see it that way, because the trip was “voluntary.”
Predictably, the high school is smack dab in the Bible Belt, in western Kentucky.
Here’s a little cultural background about western Kentucky, which Coach Scott Mooney and Superintendent Janet Meeks should have already known. Back in Kentucky’s early years, there were two main religious groups, the Baptists and the Catholics. When I lived in western Kentucky, my friends told me about the stories they heard about the “other” people, how Baptists almost drowned their young or Catholics go drunk during services.
Suffice it say, the two groups did not exactly trust each other, for a long time.
So, for Mooney and Meeks to so blithely whisk away 20 teenagers to their Southern Baptist church for a revival, a free steak dinner, and coincidentally to have some of them baptized either indicates the two are stupid or playing some dominionist games.
One of the boys, 16, has a Catholic father and a Baptist mother. (How times have changed!) His mother is pretty pissed, because she says coach subverted parents’ rights. Case in point: When all of his buddies stood up to get baptised, her son did, too. Mind you, it’s his Baptist mother who’s as mad as a hornet.
So far the American Civil Liberties Union has not gotten involved, but I expect a civil rights complaint will be filed pretty soon, if the boy’s mom stays mad long enough.