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Pushback: Supreme Court rules in favor of HS football coach fired for praying

Joe Kennedy: An American once again free to pray
Joe Kennedy: An American once again free to pray,
when and where he wishes.

Bring a gun to a knife fight: In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court today ruled in favor of high school coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired by the Bremerton School District in Washington because he choose to kneel and pray quietly on the football field at the end of each game.

Joe Kennedy was a junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant coach with the Bremerton School District in Washington from 2008 to 2015. He began the practice of reciting a post-game prayer by himself, but eventually students started joining him. According to court documents, this evolved into motivational speeches that included religious themes. After an opposing coach brought it to the principal’s attention, the school district told Kennedy to stop. He did, temporarily, then notified the school that he would resume the practice.

The situation garnered media attention, and when Kennedy announced that he would go back to praying on the field, it raised security concerns. When he did pray after the game, a number of people stormed the field in support.

The school district then offered to let Kennedy pray in other locations before and after games, or for him to pray on the 50-yard line after everyone else had left the premises, but he refused, insisting that he would continue his regular practice. After continuing the prayers at two more games, the school district placed Kennedy on leave.

He eventually lost the job when the school district refused to renew his contract.

You can read the Supreme Court’s ruling here [pdf].

Initially Kennedy was holding locker room prayer sessions and postgame religious talks, actions by a public school teacher that are certainly inappropriate. However, when the district demanded these stop he did so.

Subsequently he began praying on the field, alone and silent, after games. This action did attract some students to join him, but since he did not require participation he was violating no one’s rights, nor was he acting as a government agent at that time.

The opinion stated that his words were not “pursuant to a government policy,” he was not “seeking to convey a government-created message,” and he was not acting in the normal scope of his duties because the game was over, he was not providing instruction or game strategy, and that he prayed at a time when he was free to do other things like “attend briefly to personal matters.”

Yet, it was for this action the school district removed him, not the earlier prayer sessions in the locker room. And it was for this reason the court ruled in Kennedy’s favor.

The issue of religious prayer by government officials has for years been a difficult one. At what point does that prayer become in effect an established government religion? For decades the courts have increasingly banned any religious action of any kind in any government facility, sometimes for things as minor as a government worker wearing a necklace with a cross on it.

Essentially, the pendulum had swung absurdly to the point of outlawing religious speech in any venue where the government was involved, which in today’s America is practically everywhere. At the same time the courts have also increasingly ruled that no one can ban any government worker from proselytizing all kinds of secular political speech, even when acting as a government worker.

The anti-religious bias in these rulings is obvious, and was recognized by the court:

The [school d]istrict suggests that any visible religious conduct by a teacher or coach should be deemed — without more and as a matter of law — impermissibly coercive on students. A rule that the only acceptable government role models for students are those who eschew any visible religious expression would undermine a long constitutional tradition in which learning how to tolerate diverse expressive activities has always been “part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society.” No historically sound understanding of the Establishment Clause begins to “mak[e] it necessary for government to be hostile to religion” in this way.

As expected, the three Democrat justices dissented, and did so with that hostility to religion quite evident in their dissent. The left side of American politics today has become entirely intolerant to any public expression of any dissenting views, and works hard in every way to make those expressions illegal or banned, sometimes by outright acts of violence. It now appears that, at least for now, these totalitarians no longer have an ally in the Supreme Court.

Conscious Choice cover

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  • Cotour

    The takeaway for me as the now insane anti and un-American “Progressives” (D) who are attempting to “Fundamentally change America” by destroying the individual’s right to believe or say what they please are, three justices voted against his Rights.

    That is what bothers me.

    How does that happen? How is that justified? Please explain.

  • Alton

    ??? ???? ???? ?????????

    Well With the Dobbs USSC Decision overturns a group of lawyers who at the End of WW2 planned a series of legal actions (now called Lawfare) to push the legal system till it made Abortion legal and the expression of religious beliefs forced out of the public square.

    This group of Progressives were opening a new battlefront in the Progressive March Through America, (began~1880) which grew fruit under Woodrow Wilson, FDR ‘s New Deal, the Federal Reserve and the removal from the individual States of the Right to send their own representation to Washington via the US Senate.

    As in almost all flavors of Karl’$ Religion Of Hate….you must control the Speach, Religion; if not all thoughts of the population ($erfs).
    Gulags, Laogai a major site of the 150 million citizens that paid Karl’s full price.

  • How does a resident of Bremerton get that kind of tan?

    “. . . and when Kennedy announced that he would go back to praying on the field, it raised security concerns. When he did pray after the game, a number of people stormed the field in support.”

    Say what!? The ‘security concerns’ seem to be Government concerned that Citizens ‘stormed’ the field in a support. Were the Citizens running full tilt with rifles? Likely not. The only personnel deemed in danger were Government (law enforcement) employees. Was Government concerned that compliant people would be harmed by the unruly Citizens?

    If you didn’t think you were seen by Government, as working for Government, need more be said?

  • James Street

    Leftists being leftists as usual were very militant in their opposition to Kennedy. At one point they brought in a group of local Satanists who demanded to also be allowed to pray.

    If you’re wondering which side is on the right side of history, there’s your answer.

    And remember when the left was ridiculing us conservative conspiracy theorists for believing the left was a bunch of satanic pedophiles?

  • wayne

    great succinct explanation!

  • Cotour

    Its all related:

    HEY, THINGS HAPPEN (Especially when you help them along)

    “Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger who was in charge of securing the Capitol on January 6 dies suddenly – just one day before the riot committee is set to call surprise hearing to present ‘newly uncovered evidence’

    Up to and including murder? Bank on it, although I do not know what happened to this man who was about to testify possibly in a manner that would have disputed the now Leftist Democrat “INSURRECTION” narrative. They must have that narrative and they must tag Trump with some reason to indict him. And either way they will fail miserably because they are soooo desperate. Probably a coincidence? Arkincide? Ask Seth Rich.

    And I know that words matter to the Left (D) and they use them when they serve their agenda, but it was a riot and not an insurrection.

    A riot that was instigated from what I have been able to assess by arms length / S.O. M. / agent provocateurs. Who was Ray Epps working for the day before the riot? And, why is he not in jail? He was clearly directing the crowd to go into the Capital building and take it. R. Epps: “We have to go into the Capital!”. Not arrested, not in jail.

    Ray Epps: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know |

    Ray Epps and others from BLM and Antifa were without doubt involved in the riot that took place on Jan 6th at the Capital.–~D

  • Jay

    Good observation. Yes, it rains most of the time in Bremerton, or is cloudy, having worked at the Naval Shipyard. Kennedy moved did Florida. I am sure the Bremerton School District will offer his job back and probably have a settlement with him to go away.

  • Jay

    Sorry, channeling my Yoda: “Kennedy moved did Florida”. Kennedy did move to Florida. He is better off in Florida than living in Bremerton/Kitsap County. Puget Sound is not a big enough barrier to the Seattlites.

  • wayne

    Government Should Fear the People
    Nick Rekieta (June 27, 2022)

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