Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Football Coach Praying At Midfield

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday in favor of a high school football coach who was placed on leave for praying on the 50-yard line after games. The former high school coach, Joe Kennedy, prayed midfield after games and players who wanted to participate would join him.

The 6-to-3 decision found that “the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s.” The Supreme Court’s decision didn’t agree with the lower courts’ finding that the coach’s prayers would be perceived as a school endorsement of religion.

“Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic. Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a personal religious observance, based on a mistaken view that it has a duty to suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination. Mr. Kennedy is entitled to summary judgment on his religious exercise and free speech claims,” Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said of the midfield prayers that they were neither private speech, nor benign. She added in the dissent, “This decision does a disservice to schools and the young citizens they serve, as well as to our Nation’s longstanding commitment to the separation of church and state.”

School administrators had asked the football coach to stop praying on the field after games

The case started after Kennedy sued the school district in Bremerton, Washington. He claimed his right to free speech and the free exercise of religion were violated. Back in 2015 school administrators had asked the football coach to stop praying on the field.

After agreeing to do so, Kennedy changed his mind and resumed his postgame prayers. He then made several media appearances to talk about his postgame prayers. The added attention led to a wild scene at the homecoming game, where things got out of hand..

A lot of supporters showed up to the game, as did Satan worshippers from Seattle. After the game the supporters rushed the field to pray on the field with Kennedy. As they did so members of the band and cheerleaders were knocked down. TV cameras were there as well as a state legislator who joined the group as they knelt and prayed.

The school wanted a less public demonstration from Kennedy as they felt that the school would be seen as endorsing religion. He refused to stop his praying on the field and the superintendent placed the football coach on paid administrative leave. He did not apply for a contract with the school the following year and sued the school district.

What do you think?


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  1. Where in the Constitution of the United States is the part where there is a separation of church and state? “One Nation under God”. “Endowed by the Creator “. Sotomoyer is simply wrong, again.

    • Which Creator? Which God? Jehovah? Allah? Buddha???? Our government isn’t meant to be influenced by the rules of one specific religion. That was the whole point of the Puritans leaving England with its one religion. Many think because we have a majority of Christian’s that we are a Christian nation. We aren’t. We are a country of individual states united under one government that recognizes religious freedom.

  2. It’s written in the Bill of Rights. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” So are you Ok with any prayer, or just from your own religion?

      • You are what is wrong with this country. So much hate, so much prejudice and so little empathy or a desire to understand people.

      • No. Just because we have a majority of people who call themselves Christians doesn’t mean we are a Christian nation. The Puritans left England(one religion mandated by the ruler of the time) so they could freely practice their religion. We are a country of individual states united by one government that recognizes religious freedom.

  3. The school isn’t part of the man’s religion. He is expressing his beliefs, just like players kneeling during the national anthem express theirs. His right should be protected as well as anyone else’s. The court made the right call.

  4. If the school isn’t part of the man’s religion why does he feel the need to pray there? Separation of church and state was a lesson we learned from history.

    • He wasn’t praying for the school, he was praying most likely to God for keeping his player’s safe , he was the FB Couch not the art teacher , that was his kids class, that’s where they played, he wanted to do what he believes was right and have GOD watch over then . That had nothing to do with the school and he did it after the games yo sat thanks for no one getting hurt . . The court rule correctly this time , point blank

  5. If the coach was named Mohammed and brought a prayer rug to the field to pray to Allah, do you think the Supreme Court’s decision would be the same?

  6. Why are “Christians” always pushing their religion on other people. They are the largesrt hate group out there! It’s always their way or they turn to violence. They, for the most part, don’t even read the book that they say is the guide for the religion. Most christians don’t care what happens to you

  7. What was the intent of our Founding Fathers but to debunk the things that England did. To come under England Rule, you also had to belong to the Church of England. Northern Ireland was a prime example where a predominantly Catholic country relinquished six counties to come under British Rule and a Protestant Church of England. A forced church and state. Our Founding Fathers did not want that for this country but wanted freedom of religion for all its people. Of course over time, the pundits had to stretch it to mean no religion associated with anything government. Not the intent of our Fathers who prayed often, have God on our currently, sing God Bless America etc. Thank you Supreme Court for recognizing this in your decision. Of course, this is my opinion.

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