CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

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August 6, 2013

‘We are not afraid’: Coleman responds to prayer caravan legal threat (UPDATED: With full video)

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CULLMAN —

“I followed the same procedure that all other groups must follow to get private activities of interest to students and parents of the county advertised on the website. When I received the concerns from the Wisconsin group, the information was removed from the website until the district could determine whether the demands were warranted by the law,” Coleman said. “The FFRF’s main allegation concerning the prayer caravan is that it is sponsored by our school system due to my involvement, and due to notice being posted on the district’s announcement section of the website. Last Tuesday, the school board passed a resolution in an effort to clarify the situation.”

When later asked by The Times what other community events have been listed in the calendar, Coleman noted the annual county fair and Relay For Life as two recent examples.

He went on to say that he believes he has every right to organize the caravan as a private citizen, separate from his role as superintendent.

“I am certainly a man under authority and that authority includes the Cullman County Board of Education, the State Department of Education, and the courts of the great state of Alabama and the United States of America. If those authorities determine that acting in my capacity as Superintendent of Education, I have made a mistake in carrying out my official duties, then I fully accept the consequences. Nevertheless, I do not recognize a private organization from Wisconsin as one of those authorities to which I am subject,” he said, to applause from the crowd. “Moreover, I have received legal advice that despite my official position as superintendent, I have the right to organize private events in my private capacity as a citizen of Cullman County, and to have announcements posted, even about religious events, on the announcement section of the district's website, on the same basis as non-religious, privately sponsored events are also posted.”

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