Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Coach Put On Leave For Prayer

The Bremerton School District in Washington state has put assistant football coach Joe Kennedy on administrative leave for praying after high school football games. Since 2008, Coach Kennedy has briefly prayed at the 50-yard line after shaking hands with the opposing coach. Players, fans, and other coaches have sometimes joined him, but he has never compelled anyone to join him. This post-game prayer was never questioned until the president of the senior class invited members of the local Satanic Temple to protest it. Rather than stand up to the Satanists, the school’s administration gave Coach Kennedy an ultimatum requiring him to move his prayers to a place where no one could see him. The administration also ordered him not to kneel, bow his head, or do anything that could be seen as remotely religious.

At the very next game, along with a large crowd of supporters, Coach Kennedy prayed this prayer: “Lord, I thank you for these kids and the blessing you’ve given me with them. We believe in the game, we believe in competition and we can come into it as rivals and leave as brothers.” Because of this harmless display of goodwill and reverence, Coach Kennedy was put on indefinite administrative leave.

This is just the latest incident in the war on religious freedom that is being waged against American Christians. Liberals want to force Christians such as Coach Kennedy to stop any display of their faith in public. But Kennedy is not backing down. He released a statement saying that "I’m willing to take this as far as it goes to defend our rights under the U.S. Constitution, to the end. If you believe in something, you stand up."

It’s time for more Americans to take a stand for our basic constitutional right to the free exercise of our faith.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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