by Jorge Gomez • 5 min read
We have encouraging news to share in Coach Joe Kennedy’s case.
A federal district court recently issued a final order declaring that Coach Joe Kennedy will be free to kneel in a prayer after games. Judge Robert S. Lasnik ordered that Coach Kennedy must be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team on or before March 15, 2023.
Coach Kennedy won his case at the U.S. Supreme Court in June, a victory that fully vindicated him and upheld his constitutional right to pray.
And now, Coach Kennedy will finally be able to return to the place he belongs, coaching on the field and giving thanks to God with a brief, quiet prayer after every game.
The recent order also makes clear several important points that will help ensure Coach Joe can fully and openly live out his faith upon his return. It states that the “Bremerton School District cannot retaliate against or take any future adverse employment action against Kennedy for conduct that complies with the terms of this order.”
If you’ve closely followed this case, you know it was a long and arduous legal battle. Never one to back down from a challenge, Coach endured years of litigation to restore his right to pray. Despite numerous setbacks, his perseverance eventually took him to first and goal at the highest court in the land. There, he won a historic victory that not only restored his right to pray, but also protected religious freedom for millions of public employees and people of faith across the country.
After his Supreme Court win—almost seven years after being fired for praying—Coach Kennedy’s resolve and tenacity has not changed. His commitment to getting back on the field and to serve his community, the players and God are still the same. In a recent Fox News op-ed, Coach Kennedy wrote:
“Like most teachers and coaches, I love coaching and getting the best out of my guys on the field. It’s the administrative red tape that is so often discouraging…I know this has been hard on my friends and family in Bremerton. My hope has been to return to the sidelines with as little fanfare and negative impact on our team as possible…All I want is to bring my lawsuit to a close and get back on the sidelines doing what I love. And the last thing I want to do is to hurt the players or the team. That’s why I thought it would be best for me to target a spring return. Football season begins in the spring and summer with conditioning, learning the playbook, and bonding as a team.”
Both First Liberty and Coach Kennedy want to express how grateful we are to you for your steadfast support throughout all these years. We could not have fought Coach Kennedy’s case and secured this game-changing victory without your help.
Now that his return to the field is within sight, please continue praying for Coach Kennedy.
Even with a landmark win in hand, the last several months have not been without their share of legal hurdles and spiritual attacks. For Coach and his family, this has not been easy—and it’s up to us to continue giving them the spiritual support they need.
First Liberty, Coach Kennedy and his family sincerely appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Click here if you would like to send a personal note of encouragement to Coach Kennedy.