by Jorge Gomez and Parker Brown • 5 min read
On Sept. 1, Coach Joe Kennedy returns to Bremerton High School for his first game following his Supreme Court win. To celebrate his comeback, this week we launched the First Freedom Challenge: Take a Knee with Coach Kennedy campaign. We’re asking players, coaches and Americans nationwide to take a knee in personal private prayer on that day.
Last year, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton which held that personal expressions of faith cannot be censored. This historic case reversed decades of bad law and hostility to religious expression. Now, God has opened new doors for everyone to express their beliefs and live out their faith. The First Freedom Challenge is an awareness campaign designed to educate Americans of their newly protected rights and to encourage them to use these rights to help restore faith in America.
Our prayer is that coaches, players, parents and fans all over the country will join Coach Kennedy in this challenge. This is a simple yet powerful step we can take to restore faith in our schools and communities. It could even help spark revival throughout our country.
Here’s How YOU Can Help:
How Churches, Ministries and Organization Can Get Involved:
The Comeback Coach: Returning to the Field After Eight Years
Along with you and millions of supporters across the country, we are thrilled that Coach Kennedy will return to the field. He will finally be back where he belongs—coaching his players and living out his faith after the game.
Coach hasn’t been on the field since 2015. That’s almost eight years that he’s been unable to live out his passion. But in just one month he will be back on the sidelines.
After serving in the military for 20 years, Joe Kennedy returned to his hometown in 2008. One of the most important principles in football, in military service, and in life, is to always give 100%. And Coach Kennedy was determined to give 100% in his commitment to God. When he became a coach at Bremerton High School, he made a solemn commitment to pray and give thanks to God after each game, regardless of the outcome. This simple, private prayer caused him to be fired from his position as a coach and forced into a lengthy legal battle against the school he faithfully served.
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 America.
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.
Coach Joe has been preparing for this moment ever since his tremendous victory. His faith and patience have led him to coach and reconnect with his beloved football team. Sept. 1 will be a national night of prayer for everyone who has supported Coach on his long journey back to the field. The countless hours of preparation to live out his passion again will finally pay off.
As Coach Joe himself says, “All I’ve ever wanted was to be back on the field with my guys.”
Thank you to all our supporters for being there for Coach when he needed it most. Your ongoing prayers and support are the reason why our legal team can keep fighting—and winning—for courageous Americans like Coach Kennedy.