It all started when 26 football players at Alabama’s Reeltown High School were voluntarily baptized at the school’s Nix-Webster-O’Neal Stadium in November.
The following month, Reeltown, located in Notasulga, and head football coach Matt Johnson came under attack from the out-of-state Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF). The FFRF is self-described as the nation’s largest association of atheists and agnostics.
In an exclusive statement to Yellowhammer News published December 26, Congressman Bradley Byrne (AL-01) defended Reeltown against the FFRF.
The congressman and U.S. Senate candidate was subsequently targeted by the FFRF for standing up for the school, but that only led to him doubling down.
Now, on Tuesday morning, former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions enthusiastically came to Reeltown’s defense. Sessions is also a candidate in Alabama’s crowded 2020 GOP U.S. Senate primary field.
“The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is once again trying to intimidate people of faith, this time right here at Reeltown High School in Tallapoosa County,” Sessions decried.
He then outlined that he has long been at odds with the atheist group.
Sessions continued, “These people want to destroy our religious freedom and have tried to silence me for many years. Below are links to some of the FFRF attacks on me, none of which have been successful.”
- Listed Jeff Sessions as a “threat to church/state issues” along with presidential appointees Ben Carson and Nikki Haley in the January/February 2017 issue of Freethought Today.
- Criticized Jeff Sessions for being a “vocal proponent” of religious liberty on January 9, 2017.
- Sent a letter on behalf of “70 reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations” opposing the nomination of Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General on January 6, 2017.
- Claimed that Jeff Sessions’ 20 principles to protect religious liberty were a “brazen attempt to pervasively privilege religion over the rights and liberties of all Americans” on October 30, 2017.
- Sent a letter to AG Jeff Sessions for “using the bible to justify public policy changes” regarding immigration policies on June 19, 2018.
- Stated that Jeff Sessions should “stop preaching and harming innocent children” regarding immigration policies on June 20, 2018.
- Condemned the religious task force assembled by AG Jeff Sessions for “actively seeking, carefully, thoughtfully and lawfully, to accommodate people of faith” on July 31, 2018.
“This is all part of a very fundamental battle that is raging in America, and it is a battle that is no small matter. Increasingly, the hard left in America is becoming militantly secular,” Sessions added. “Where they once sought tolerance, they now seek to silence the faithful, and to reject our country’s heritage.”
“Shortly after he was elected, President Trump and I took decisive action in defending people of faith. We ordered the federal government to cease harassing faith-based organizations, we introduced 20 principles instructing the government to protect religious freedom (Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty, 10/6/2017), and we defended faith based organizations all over the country. For more information on my views on the importance of defending religious freedom, please see this speech – (Alliance Defending Freedom speech, 8/9/2018),” he concluded.
The GOP Senate primary field also includes former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R-Indian Springs). The primary will be held March 3.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn