A Georgia school district is investigating after video of a mass baptism was posted on YouTube.
The video, posted by First Baptist Villa Rica, was shot on school grounds just before football practice. “We had the privilege of baptizing a bunch of football players and a coach on the field of Villa Rica High School! We did this right before practice! Take a look and see how God is STILL in our schools!” the caption with the video reads.
WXIA-TV reached out to church officials for comment, but were told the pastor was not available.
The video on YouTube has been removed by the user by Tuesday evening.
The Carroll County School District said in a released statement that it was “looking into the specifics of this situation and will take appropriate steps to ensure all state and federal laws are followed.”
The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the district Tuesday asking it to “immediately investigate and take action to ensure there will be no further illegal religious events.”
In the letter, the Religion Foundation mentioned its lawsuit against Emanuel County School District for similar practices. The group is seeking punitive and personal liability damages in that case.
“We prefer to settle these matters cooperatively,” the letter reads before ending with a request to detail the steps the school district is taking to comply with the First Amendment.
“I can’t remember another case like this,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor of the foundation. “It’s really misusing the authority of the coach to promote his personal religious agenda.”
Georgia remains a lightning rod for these kinds of cases. A school band in downstate Dublin was criticized Friday for playing Amazing Grace.
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SOURCE: USA Today / WXIA-TV, Atlanta – Matthew Pearl and Julie Wolfe