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Supreme Court Lands Major First Amendment Case – Fired High School Coach Isn’t Giving Up After Prayer Termination
By Ben Dutka|July 21, 2021
Supreme Court Lands Major First Amendment Case – Fired High School Coach Isn’t Giving Up After Prayer Termination

The Constitution has never been a hotter topic in America. And as battles continue to rage over the rights of citizens, the highest court in the land might end up getting another historic case.

This one involves the all-important First Amendment as well as freedom of religion, and a high school football coach who isn’t about to stop fighting for his rights.

That’s why he’s pledged to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court.

It’s not uncommon to see coaches and players praying. They’ll often pray before games, for example, and players frequently praise God after good performances.

However, Coach Joe Kennedy found that he wasn’t allowed to conduct prayer sessions on the field with his players.

Back in 2015, the Bremerton School District told him he had to stop and when he didn’t, they suspended him. But even when Kennedy returned, he continued the practice — then he was fired.

School authorities claimed he was violating the religious freedom of students. And even though Kennedy tried to fight the case in the U.S. Court Of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, it was dismissed.

So now, he’s taking the next step. From Fox News:

A former high school football coach challenging a ban on post-game prayers vowed to take his case to the Supreme Court after losing his latest court appeal Monday.

Joe Kennedy and his legal team have alleged the former coach’s first amendment rights were violated by the Bremerton School District in Washington state after he was issued an order to end his prayer sessions while on the field with players.

First Liberty Institute Chief Legal Officer Jeff Mateer said they “are confident the Supreme Court of the United States will right this wrong.”

The situation started with Coach Kennedy offering up silent prayers on the field, and the school argues he was never reprimanded for this.

But when other students started praying with the coach, the school had a problem. They argue that it was a violation of religious freedom, as they said in a statement:

The Ninth Circuit made the right call: The Bremerton School District was correct to protect the religious freedom of its students and their families.

The Constitution requires public schools to provide an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students…that includes ensuring that student-athletes don’t feel compelled to pray or participate in religious activities to secure their place on a team.

The problem is, The Ninth Circuit ruled that as a “public employee,” he isn’t allowed to engage in religious activity.

That’s a big ruling, though, because it would apply to all sports coaches around the country who pray with their students. It would stop them all from praying on the field in front of fans.

The appeals court did say the school offered Kennedy “a private location within the school building, athletic facility, or press box” before or after the game.

But saying they’re not allowed to pray on the field as public employees is a big deal. It could change how school coaches around the country operate on a daily basis.

On top of that, it’s a critical rights issue — and the Supreme Court actually heard it before. But they previously returned it to lower courts because they required more facts in the case.

Well, whether or not they have more facts now, Kennedy and his team are going back to the High Court. Said Mateer:

Coach Kennedy has been denied the freedom to coach for over five years, but he’s never been a quitter. We will fight on.

Key Takeaways:

  • A high school football coach is taking his case to the Supreme Court.
  • He was fired for saying prayers on the field with players. The school argued that this violated the religious freedom of the students.
  • But Kennedy claims it’s a violation of his First Amendment rights.

Source: Fox News

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Ben Dutka
Ben S. Dutka is a journalist, writer and editor with over two decades of experience. He has worked with three newspapers and eight online publications, and he has also won a Connecticut short story contest entitled Art as Muse, Imaginary Realms. He has a penchant for writing, rowing, reading, video games, and Objectivism.
Ben S. Dutka is a journalist, writer and editor with over two decades of experience. He has worked with three newspapers and eight online publications, and he has also won a Connecticut short story contest entitled Art as Muse, Imaginary Realms. He has a penchant for writing, rowing, reading, video games, and Objectivism.
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