Coach Joe Kennedy | First Liberty


It Started With a Prayer

In 2008, Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy made a commitment to God that he would pray and give thanks after each game he coached, regardless of the outcome. This commitment to a simple, private act of worship would eventually cause him to be stripped of his position as a coach and forced into a lengthy, ongoing legal battle against the school he faithfully served.

But Coach Kennedy isn’t backing down anytime soon—in fact, he’s just getting warmed up. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court outlined a pathway to victory for Coach. And now, we have developed the game plan that will protect the rights of any person across the nation—whether you’re on the field or cheering from the bleachers—to pray without fear of triggering a penalty flag.

Kennedy Playbook iPad | First Liberty

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About Joe Kennedy

This Marine Won’t Run

Before coaching football, Coach Kennedy served 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, proudly defending your rights and freedoms under the U.S. Constitution. Serving gave him a special sense of appreciation for what our country represents, and the freedoms that we enjoy.

When the Bremerton School District in Washington state fired him for kneeling in silent prayer, Coach Kennedy – a Marine who served in combat during Operation Desert Storm – was ready. He had no plans to run from the fight to defend his right to live out his faith. For him, the fight had just begun.

Learn How 20 Years in the Marine Corps Gave Him the Courage to Kneel

Coach Kennedy | Courage to Kneel | First Liberty

Photo of Coach Kennedy during the Gulf War. Pictured from left to right U.S. Marines: Jurado, Joseph Kennedy, Rodriguez, Wallace; Bottom: Luna.

Coach Joe Kennedy | First Liberty

From the Battlefield to the Football Field

Before he even coached his first game, this Marine Corps veteran turned football coach made a commitment to God that he would give thanks after every game—win or lose—for the opportunity to be a football coach and lead his players into battle.

So after his very first football game in 2008, Coach Kennedy waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee in silent prayer. This continued after each game for seven years—and no students, coaches or parents ever complained about it.

In fact, it was actually a compliment that caused him to start taking heat. After initially being told by a school administrator how grateful they were for his leadership and example, Coach Kennedy received an official letter from the school district ordering him to stop praying after games. After a request for religious accommodation was denied, he was ultimately suspended.

Why Did He Do It?

As a man of faith, Coach Joe made an agreement with God—that if he ever had the opportunity to become a football coach, he would give God the glory after every game.

For Coach Kennedy, that meant going to the 50 yard-line to kneel down in a brief, silent prayer – win or lose. That was his commitment to God. Not showing up, was never an option.

One of the most important principles in football, in athletics, and in life, is—always give 100%. And Coach Kennedy was determined to give 100% in his commitment to God.

Watch Coach Kennedy talk about his journey to finding faith, fulfilling his calling on the football field, and what this fight means to him

Join Team Kennedy Now!

Time to Move the Chains

There comes a time in life when you have to take a stand for something. And Coach Kennedy did just that…he took a stand for his faith by kneeling in prayer.

Now, it’s your turn. You can no longer sit on the sidelines and allow great people of faith like Coach Kennedy to be silenced.

Our team is growing…but it will take millions of patriotic Americans like you to return our nation to the religious freedom envisioned by our Founders.

Joining you in standing with Coach Kennedy are President Trump; Franklin Graham; football greats Tony Dungy, Bobby Bowden, Chad Henning, and Steve Largent; and Alex Kendrick, the director of “Facing the Giants”—a movie that deeply inspired Coach Kennedy.

Living out his faith has already cost Joe his job, and if we don’t stand with him now…the costs will be even greater for our children and grandchildren.

Fli Team Kennedy Collage 600x380

Left to right: Bobby Bowden, Franklin Graham, President Donald Trump, Tony Dungy, and Steve Largent

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Your gift will go straight towards defending people like Coach Joe Kennedy who stand for their faith in local communities all over the nation, ensuring that they have the legal protection they need.

For those suffering from religious persecution, who often feel like they have nowhere else to go when they suffer attacks on their faith—your donation today gives them the priceless gift of hope. Hope for freedom. Hope for justice. And hope for a better future.

Thank you for your commitment to protecting faith and freedom! Find out more about how we’re defending religious liberty in communities like yours here.

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