Pastor Franklin Graham recently applauded Gov. Kay Ivey's stern response to the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) after the foundation sent a series of letters criticizing religious activity in Alabama universities.
The FFRF recently sent letters to two colleges in the state. One was sent to Snead State Community College after staff allegedly complained they felt compelled to participate in prayer during staff events and before meals.
"They feel that they are being forced to bow their head and participate because not doing so would require them to expose their personal beliefs and potentially be subject to retribution," the letter from FFRF read.
Another letter was sent to Auburn University after the university's Unite Auburn event, which featured Christian speakers; afterward, hundreds of students gathered by a nearby body of water where students were baptized. The FFRF claims head football coach Hugh Freeze and other faculty baptized students.
"The event was organized by Chad Prewett, Auburn's assistant men's basketball coach, and his wife Tonya," the FFRF said. "Jeremy Napier, chaplain for the Auburn men's basketball team, was involved in planning the event and admitted that he personally baptized more than 20 students."
Ivey responded to the FFRF with a lengthy letter of her own, slamming the FFRF and its complaints.
"Suffice it to say, these letters are misleading and misguided," Ivey responded. "Here in Alabama, we stand with President Whitmore; Coaches Freeze, Pearl, and Thompson; and the countless other Alabamians who seek to be true to themselves and to God as they live out their lives and seek to do their jobs to the best of their abilities."
She continued, "As Governor of Alabama, I take seriously my responsibility to faithfully execute the laws and that includes safeguarding the religious freedom of all Alabamians, religious and nonreligious alike. But the facts described in your recent letters do not violate anyone's religious liberty. Even according to your own account, these events all involved adults interacting with other adults, and no one faced any threat of adverse consequences for declining to participate."
Franklin Graham, the renowned evangelist and son of Billy Graham, took to Twitter on Wednesday to praise Ivey's response, calling the governor "one tough lady."
.@GovernorKayIvey is one tough lady! She let the God-hating Freedom From Religion Foundation know they can’t push the people of her state around. After the incredible worship service at @AuburnU where some 200 were baptized, FFRF said the school’s actions were…— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) September 28, 2023
"[Ivey] is one tough lady!" Graham stated. "She let the God-hating Freedom From Religion Foundation know they can't push the people of her state around. After the incredible worship service at [Auburn] where some 200 were baptized, FFRF said the school's actions were unconstitutional—but Gov. Ivey set them straight. Governor, I appreciate that you aren't afraid to stand up to the bullies. God bless you!"
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