Washington football coach cannot pray after games: | First Liberty

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Washington football coach cannot pray after games: U.S. appeals court

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August 23, 2017

ReutersAugust 23, 2017

A high school football coach in Washington state has failed to persuade a federal appeals court to let him kneel and pray on the field immediately after games in sight of students and parents.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected Joseph Kennedy’s request for an injunction requiring the Bremerton School District, located just outside Seattle, to reinstate him and allow his prayer.

Kennedy, a Christian, said the district violated his constitutional right to free speech under the First Amendment, including by putting him on paid leave in October 2015.

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.