Coleman declined to say for sure if he would attend the caravan, set for Saturday, Aug.10 at every school campus throughout the day, noting his biggest fear is that the media attention might distract from the focus of the event.
“My greatest concern is that I may have become a distraction for an event that simply is about prayer for our schools, by individuals gathered together for an act of corporate worship,” he said. “The best news I have heard in the last week is the possibility the group from Wisconsin will send visitors down to monitor the prayer caravan. I think this is a great idea to have someone from their organization to see for themselves what the prayer caravan is all about — private citizens exercising their constitutional rights — and that it is not run by school officials acting in their official capacity.”
The FFRF has also made a laundry list of other allegations against the system, including reports of illegal prayer, hosting school events in churches and “proselytizing” in schools. Coleman said the system will respond to those specific allegations soon.
“[The] FFRF is mistaken as to the facts of what actually goes on in the Cullman County schools,” Coleman said. “The ... allegations are all based on incorrect information and will receive an official response from the district in due time.”
Coleman closed his statement with a prayer, quoting the first prayer given at the Continental Congress in 1774.
Approximately 30 people attended Coleman’s press conference, including media, as well as a handful of area residents who came out to express support for Coleman. Cullman resident Julie Hall stood in the back of the conference room and listened, and approached Coleman after the event to shake his hand. After following the events in local media the past few weeks, Hall said she wanted to let Coleman know that he has her support.