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North Carolina students rally around coach told he can't pray before games

Mooresville football coach Hal Capps, the All Mooresville News coach of the year for 2013.
Mooresville football coach Hal Capps, the All Mooresville News coach of the year for 2013.Erica Singleton

In the latest intervention by the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation, a North Carolina coach has been told he can't lead his team in prayer before a game.

Mooresville High School head football coach Hal Capps has been ordered to stop baptizing players and leading them in prayer.

School Superintendent Mark Edwards said that he instructed Capps not to lead the students in prayers or paricipate in the baptisms, but noted that the baptisms occurred away from school and Capps's participation was at the request of the students. [Charlotte Observer]

Patrick Elliott an attorney for the Freedom from Religion Foundation wrote in a letter, "It is a violation of the Constitution for the Mooresville High School football coach to organize, lead or participate in prayers or other religious proselytizing before, during, or after games or practices."

However, The Blaze notes that "Despite negative reaction from atheist activists, students and residents have taken to Twitter with a #ISupportCapps hashtag, offering up praise and defense of their coach."

Students have tweeted:

So does anyone know why the Freedom from Religion Foundation is upset about Capps, when they aren't in the same state as us? #ISupportCapps

and

Love my Coach mane he do a lot for me. Helping me with a lot of stuff mane! Coach Capps the truth mane #ISupportCapps

Capps was not disciplined, but has agreed to abide by the Superintendent's instructions.