Football coach Joseph Kennedy worked at Bremerton High School in Washington for seven years. In 2015 an employee from another school reported Kennedy’s “religious practice” after games. In response, the school district eventually suspended him and then fired him for his continuing prayer during football. He sued the school and lost and now a federal judge has ruled against him yet again.
Mr. Kennedy had asked the courts to order the school to “cease discriminating against him,” allow him to coach and allow him to pray after games. The court issued a ruling stating that Kennedy “took advantage of his position to press his particular views upon the impressionable and captive minds before him.”
In a time when people like Colin Kaepernick, and now multiple players on other teams, are kneeling during the National Anthem, it is frustrating to see one man’s right to pray so suppressed. When it comes to prayer at school, it is no longer simply a First Amendment right. The court addressed some of that problem in their ruling;
“We hold that Kennedy spoke as a public employee when he kneeled and prayed on the 50-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents. Kennedy, therefore, cannot show a likelihood of success on the merits of his First Amendment retaliation claim.”
Still, for so many who feel that Christian values and the fundamental rights of Americans are being trampled on, a decision like this is a hard blow. Likely, Kennedy is devastated since he seems very devoted not only to his beliefs but to the children he coached for so many years. Even President Trump expressed his support for Mr. Kennedy last year.
Support Coach Kennedy and his right, together with his young players, to pray on the football field. Liberty Institute just suspended him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2015
Those emotions do not play into the court’s decision however and they have cited the need for inclusiveness.
“While we recognize the important role that public worship plays in many communities, as well as the sincere desire to include public prayer as a part of [these] occasions,’ such activity can promote disunity along religious lines and risks alienating valued community members from an environment that must be open and welcoming to all.”
Source: The Washington Free Beacon