Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Coach Who Was Praying after Games
A football coach who was fired for praying after games had his case taken all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court after he was fired from his school. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Coach Joe Kennedy who claimed it was unconstituional for him to be fired after praying.
The big question was whether or not the coach could be praying, by himself, in view of students? The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, says the man didn't violate any law.
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 according to Fox News.
It was never an issue until a coach from an opposing team pointed out the practice to the principal that Kennedy worked for in Washington State. Kennedy also started morphing his actions into motivational speeches with relgious themes.
The school district warned him to stop, and Kennedy did for a bit. After not doing it for two games, he let the district know he was going to start praying again.
This situation became national in nature as all eyes seemed to be on Joe Kennedy. After he announced he would start praying again, after the first game when he did pray, there were many people who came out of the stand's to show their support.
When he was fired, Kennedy sued, and a lower court ruled in favor of the school district when the question become that if a student didn't join him for the after-game prayers, would they be restricted from playing time. Here is what one lower court said,
A lower court opinion noted that the principal had been contacted by a parent who said his son "felt compelled to participate" in the prayer despite being an atheist, because "he felt he wouldn't get to play as much if he didn't participate.
The case continued all the way to the Supreme Court. Kennedy won.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the Court's opinion,
Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. And the only meaningful justification the government offered for. Religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.
*What Makes Acadiana Such a Great Place to Live
If Lafayette Streets Could Talk This Is What They'd Say To You