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Religious Liberty Law Firm Commends Air Force For Ignoring Complaint and Continuing Chaplain Prayers

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March 20, 2017

Portsmouth, NH – The New Hampshire Air National Guard announced they will continue their tradition of including prayer during military ceremonies, despite receiving a letter from a special interest group demanding that they stop. First Liberty Institute attorneys and the Chaplain Alliance praised the move. 

“We’re very pleased to see the New Hampshire Air National Guard do the right thing and continue their tradition, as the law clearly allows,” Mike Berry, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute, says. “It is perfectly constitutional to offer invocations at military events and service members have every right to exercise their faith under the First Amendment.”

At the request of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, First Liberty Institute sent an advisory letter to the military base explaining how the law allows chaplains to offer invocations at military events. 

“We commend Pease Air National Guard Base for standing strong and continuing their tradition,” Chaplain (Colonel) Ron Crews, U.S. Army (Retired), Executive Director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, says. “Chaplains and service members have the right to freely exercise their religious beliefs without fear of reprisal.”  

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About First Liberty Institute 

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans. 

To arrange an interview, contact Kassie Dulin, Chief Communications Officer for First Liberty Institute. Email: kdulin@firstliberty.org, Direct: 972-941-4575, Cell: 214-542-4334.

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Your dedication to your faith and your commitment to the positive education of our youth is truly admirable. I am deeply grateful for your military service and for taking a courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and First Liberty as you continue to fight for religious freedom! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.