Supreme Court Sides With Football Coach Who Led Student Prayer
The Supreme Court has once again ruled for conservatives, this time ruling in the case of Kennedy v. Bremerton that public school officials violated a high school coach’s First Amendment rights when they fired him for repeatedly praying at the 50-yard line during football games – during which students would join him of their own free will.
In a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, coach Joseph Kennedy’s case marked a huge victory for religious and conservative groups who had long-hoped to reintroduce prayer in public schools after it was previously ruled unconstitutional in 1962.
“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” wrote Gorsuch.
Kennedy had claimed the Bremerton, Washington school where he began coaching in 2008, violated his First Amendment rights after he was instructed to not pray publicly after games, as it gave the impression that the school was endorsing a particular religion.
The case forced the justices to wrestle with how to balance the religious and free speech rights of teachers and coaches with the rights of students not to feel pressured into participating in religious practices. The outcome could strengthen the acceptability of some religious practices in the public school setting.
The decision is also the latest in a line of Supreme Court rulings for religious plaintiffs. In another recent example, the court ruled that Maine can’t exclude religious schools from a program that offers tuition aid for private education, a decision that could ease religious organizations’ access to taxpayer money. –AP
Perhaps most disturbing about the case was the liberal justices’ dissent – which absurdly characterized a 30-second prayer by an individual as the establishment of a state-sponsored church.
What’s really mind-boggling is that three justices believe that a 30 second individual prayer after a high school football game constitutes the establishment of a state-sponsored church.
— David Harsanyi (@davidharsanyi) June 27, 2022
There are three Justices on SCOTUS who think if a coach wants to pray by himself he has to go into a closet where no one can see him. https://t.co/GPSHqCfHOz
— Holden (@Holden114) June 27, 2022
The three justices blatantly misrepresented the facts in order to fabricate risks of coercion which had no basis in reality. His characterization is far more accurate to the facts as they actually happened.
— Zac (@Zachary80774921) June 27, 2022
Kennedy had stopped leading students in prayer in the locker room and on the field, but wanted to continue praying on the field himself, allowing students to join if they wished – however the school asked him to stop while “on duty” – eventually placing him on paid leave after he continued to kneel and pray on the field.
Mon, 06/27/2022 – 14:25