High school coach criticized for team dinners at church - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

High school coach criticized for team dinners at church

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WALKER COUNTY, Ga. -

A north Georgia high school is under attack from a Wisconsin group that claims the head football coach is violating the Constitution by taking his team to dinners at local churches before their games.

Ridgeland High School is in the heart, the rural center of several small communities.  There is no Main Street, but there is plenty of mountain and sky and old fashion values that run deep as bedrock .

So it seemed natural to seemingly everyone, given the school's current financial needs, to turn to local churches to feed the football team on Friday nights.

"It's an act of community.  That's what we're about. We are a body of faith, but it's an act of community and the body of faith just happens to be participating in it," said Terry Chitwood of Chattanooga Valley Baptist Church.

But someone somewhere has complained to The Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin group.  In a letter to the school system, the group asked for an immediate investigation of the head football coach, for what it says is an egregious violation of the Constitution and must cease immediately.

The school system will say only that it has received the letter.

Leaders at one of the churches say they bless the food, but the dinners are community meals, not worship services.

"We're not proselytizing. We have no interest in trying to bring these young men and make them members of our church. But we are showing them God's grace through the way we act," said Chitwood.

The church said it would bring the meals to the school to help feed the team if that would appease the critics.

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