Arkansas pastor under fire for ‘constitutional violation’ after quoting scripture at football camp

Arkansas pastor under fire for ‘constitutional violation’ after quoting scripture at football camp
An Arkansas pastor is speaking out after being accused of violating the Constitution for speaking at a high school football camp. (Image source: Fox News screenshot)

An Arkansas pastor is speaking out after he was accused of a “constitutional violation” for giving a Bible-based devotion at a high school football camp.

What’s the background?

Konnor McKay, pastor of Waldron Pentecostal Church of God in Waldron, Arkansas, was invited to his former high school last month to speak at a football camp about teamwork and leadership, as well as encourage the young men.

However, according to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an anti-Christian nonprofit that bill itself as an organization that educates people on “nontheism,” McKay and the school district, Danville Public Schools, willfully violated the Constitution.

In a letter, the group accused district officials of subjecting football players to “Christian proselytization” and demanded officials “not allow its football program to be used as a captive audience for evangelists.”

FFRF amounted McKay’s speech as a violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause — which bars Congress from passing a law “respecting an establishment of religion” — and demanded the district inform FFRF what steps it will take to “ensure that its athletic programs will not be used to promote religion in the future.”

“Parents send their students to football camps to become better players, not to be brainwashed. Public school students should not have to pray to play,” FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor stated in a press release.

How did McKay respond?

Speaking with “Fox and Friends” on Saturday, McKay rejected the idea that he somehow violated the Constitution by speaking to the students about the importance of teamwork and leadership.

“I know what it’s like to be where these players are at. I know what it’s like to be a high school football player and I felt that it was important to know the value and importance of teamwork. So I came that morning and I shared with them the importance of teamwork and I shared with the kids that as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. And that’s what I felt on my heart to share with them,” McKay explained.

First Liberty attorney Michael Berry, who is representing McKay, was more candid in his interview with Fox.

“This is another example of this group from Wisconsin that goes out-of-state seeking school districts across the country that they can bully and intimidate,” he explained, adding that McKay was personally invited to speak at the camp and his affiliation as a pastor is not a constitutional violation.