Atheists Demand ISU Keep Coach’s Religion Out of Basketball Program


Iowa State head basketball coach Steve Prohm

Cranford, NJ—American Atheists this week sent a letter to the Steven Leath, President of Iowa State University, demanding that the university address comments made by new men’s basketball head coach Steve Prohm about his plans to bring his personal religious beliefs into his role as coach.

In an interview with the Des Moines Register published on June 25, Prohm appeared to say that he would lead mandatory prayer sessions during basketball activities and that he wanted players to have “a strong faith.”

“Our objection isn’t with Mr. Prohm’s personal faith. Our objection comes when a person in a position of power uses that position to impose his religious beliefs on students and other staff who are under intense pressure to conform,” said Amanda Knief, National Legal and Public Policy Director for American Atheists.

“As an Iowa State alumna and Iowa native, I know that these student athletes face challenges every day. Worrying that not praying could cost them their scholarship or playing time is not something they should have to deal with,” added Knief.

The United States Supreme Court has consistently held that prayer in a public school setting, including athletics, is unconstitutional, whether participation is “voluntary” or not.

In the letter, American Atheists urged President Leath to reaffirm the commitment of Iowa State University to protect the First Amendment rights of all of its students and the rest of the coaching staff.

The full letter is available here.

  • John Fruetel

    Give ’em hell Amanda!

  • Richard Hicks

    Prick doesn’t understand that other’s have completely different religious faiths or none at all.

    • GameDrugs

      is he forcing them to join? atheists are stupid. he want to have prayers, join him if you are ok, leave if you are not.

      • Stanley B. Manley

        GD, how about you scram outta here and sign up on some website where people want to see that crap!

  • Raymond Birnbaum

    If a coach insisted on having Muslim prayers with his team, Mr Prohm would be the first insist that it was unconstitutional. He is another right wing religionist who is not able to think.

    • Sean Nolan

      Exactly right. Somehow religion has elevated itself to above the law and Christianity has elevated itself above all others. If it is a Christian doing prayers then that’s fine but if any other religion tried to do the same thing then everyone will raise hell about it.

  • Dee Smith

    Why do they even try to get away with this crap? How many times do we have to say it – Separation of Church and State. What about that is so hard to understand? I’m suspecting some Christians are actually brain dead.

  • sean

    can we remove thoughts by people with less than a 70 IQ? and by that, I mean you GameDrug….

    • Stanley B. Manley

      The kid is a troll.

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