Bremerton High School in Washington state fired coach Joe Kennedy in 2015 for refusing to stop praying after games. Kennedy, a Christian, made prayer part of a postgame ritual.

SCOTUS Sides With Football Coach Who Lost His Job For Praying After Games

The U.S. Supreme Court continues one of its most liberal-triggering sessions ever. The latest example came Monday.

The high court sided with Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington state, who lost his job for praying at the 50-yard line after games.

The case stemmed from 2015, when Kennedy was fired from Bremerton High School for refusing orders to stop praying after games. What began as a solitary practice eventually involved not only Kennedy’s players, but also some from the opposing team.

The school district asserted Kennedy violated the separation of church and state as his players likely felt compelled to join him. He was also accused of favoring Christianity over other faiths.

But the court’s conservative majority rejected those arguments.

Bremerton High School in Washington state fired coach Joe Kennedy in 2015 for refusing to stop praying after games. Kennedy, a Christian, made prayer part of a postgame ritual.
The high court sided with Joseph Kennedy, a high school football coach in Washington state, who lost his job for praying at the 50-yard line after games.

According to the SCOTUS Blog website, Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, noted that the school district specifically targeted religious conduct, that the coach’s prayers were unconnected from his duties as a coach, and that he prayed “during a period in which the [school] District has acknowledged that its coaching staff was free to engage in all manner of private speech.” 

“There is no indication in the record,” Gorsuch observed, “that anyone expressed any coercion concerns to the District about the quiet, postgame prayers that Mr. Kennedy asked to continue and that led to his suspension.” In other words, players did not complain about being forced to pray with their coach.

“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” said Gorsuch.

In the news: MSNBC Contributor Slams Democrats As ‘Too Weak’ To Handle The SCOTUS Fallout

In the end, Gorsich wrote, “learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is ‘part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society,’ a trait of character essential to ‘a tolerant citizenry.’”

The ruling for Kennedy is one of a recent string in which the nation’s highest court has taken a conservative tack.

The most monumental news, of course, was last week’s eradication of the 1973 Roe. v. Wade ruling and the return of the abortion question to the states.

Just before that, we saw the overturning of laws in seven states that required gun owners to explain to bureaucrats a special need for wanting to carry a gun.

Prior to that, the court held that the First Amendment’s religious freedom clause trumped a Maine law that prohibited spending taxpayer’s money on religious education.

Another ruling for the right included an 8-1 decision to uphold a North Carolina law that allows Republican lawmakers to intervene in lawsuits brought against the state’s Democrats who refuse to enforce the law.

The conservative majority also declared that criminal defendants could not sue police officers for alleged coerced confessions in violation of their Miranda warning. Instead, suppression of their supposed confessions at trial would suffice, the court majority said.  

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