The Freedom From Religion Foundation is demanding the resignation of Auburn Chaplain Chette Williams.
Under Williams' spiritual advisement, "tremendous spiritual revival ... moved on the Auburn team since his arrival. ... players are getting baptized, carrying around Bibles and wearing wooden cross necklaces."
Williams has reportedly baptized more than 50 Tigers, including Pittsburgh Steelers' Sammie Coates.
Williams joined the Tigers in 1999 under the supervision of former coach Tommie Tuberville.
The chaplain has worked hard to motivate the players' personal prayer lives, noting the impact the routine had on the field.
"I never realized the impact of the players' private moments of prayer on the field until a freshman running back stood up in front of the team in the prayer room in 2006 and said, 'You were my heroes in high school. I watched y'all every week, and my teammates and I imitated you on the field with hookups going onto the field and praying after you scored a touchdown.'" Willaims says. "He had seen the public response to a private and powerful time of prayer that began when one player said, 'This is what we have to do.'"
Such a response has infuriated the FFRF. The organization reports Auburn is one of more than 25 public universities that employs a Christian chaplain.
According to the FFRF, chaplains are coercing players into Christianity. They claim the employment of the ministers in unconstitutional, and the chaplains are forcing students to "pray to play."
"No student athlete should be baptized as part of a public university sports program, or be put in the position of feeling they have to pray to play," FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor says.
So far, Williams has not publicly responded to the atheistic comments. Instead, his Twitter feed is filled with support for the Tigers.
The Auburn War Wagon Facebook page is standing behind Williams: "We stand with Rev. Chette Williams, who serves as the team chaplain and thank him for all he does! Recently, the Freedom From Religion Foundation asked Auburn to remove the chaplain. The War Wagon wants to show its support for a man who stands firm in his faith and helps others while doing so. War Eagle 'Brother Chette!'"
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