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Deion Sanders Vocal About His Christian Faith As He Seeks Success At Colorado

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Deion Sanders Vocal About His Christian Faith As He Seeks Success At Colorado

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The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the University of Colorado a letter on Jan. 24 about Sanders’ references to Christianity and expressed concern that players were potentially being pressured to pray during team meetings.

The letter specifically pointed to one prayer, which read: “Lord, we thank You for this day, Father, for this opportunity as a group. Father, we thank You for the movement that God has put us in place to be in charge of. We thank You for each player here, each coach, each family. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

The group called on the university to teach Sanders about “his constitutional duties under the Establishment Clause” and to “ensure that Sanders understands that he has been hired as a football coach and not a pastor.”

The letter had also urged the school to notify Sanders that he “will not continue to proselytize to his players or subject them to coercive team prayers,” according to The Christian Post.

In response, First Liberty Institute, a group that defends religious freedom, came to Sanders’ defense. They made clear the school could be violating Sanders’ rights if they told him to stop praying in public.

“We write to correct the Freedom from Religion Foundation’s misstatements regarding the requirements imposed by the First Amendment on public school employees’ religious expression,” the letter from First Liberty Institute said. “The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that public school employees may engage in religious expression and exercise; therefore, public universities like CU may not target Coach Sanders (or other members of the football staff) for exercising constitutional rights on campus.”

Writing in The Federalist, staff writer Shawn Fleetwood also came to Sanders’ defense:

FFRF’s arguments are extremely flawed, for two key reasons. First, as the group admits in its letter, the alleged concerns about Sanders’s prayers during team activities are from “Colorado residents,” not CU players or other members of the football program.

FFRF fails to name a single player or staff member who was coerced into praying. Nor does the group identify any individual who claimed he felt excluded by such practices. For all we know, these supposed complaints could have come from Colorado residents who don’t attend or have any connection to the university. It’s such a major flaw in FFRF’s justification for filing the complaint that even O’Rourke noted it in his response to the organization.

Second, the FFRF’s claim that Sanders’ use of prayer violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, which stipulates that government cannot establish an official religion, is meritless.

As noted by the First Liberty Institute, Fleetwood added, FFRF’s arguments “rely on an outdated legal test the Supreme Court disavowed” in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District in 2022. That was case involved Joseph Kennedy, a public high school football coach in Washington state who had famously lost his job for leading prayers on the field after games who was later reinstated.

“Prime Time” on and off the field

Sanders was born on Aug. 9, 1967, in Fort Myers, Florida. He attended Florida State University, where he showcased his extraordinary athletic abilities in both football and baseball.

As a football player, he was a standout cornerback, earning All-American honors and the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back. In addition, Sanders’ exceptional speed made him a force on the gridiron.

In addition, Sanders also pursued a baseball career. He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 1988 MLB Draft and made his major league debut with the Bronx Bombers in 1989. He later played for several MLB teams, including the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants.



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