Bremerton High School in Washington has doubled down on their suppression of football coach Joe Kennedy’s prayer.
In a Sept 27th letter, the school district warned the coach that any Christian expression by him will not be tolerated. “Your talks with students may not include religious expression, including prayer,” the letter stated, “They must remain entirely secular in nature, so as to avoid alienation of any team member.”
Since that first attempt at silencing coach Kennedy, he has boldly declared that he will continue to honor his God no matter the consequences. According to Fox, the school district has returned fire and issued another letter on Oct. 23rd. In the letter they decree that “Any further violations will be grounds for discipline, up to and including discharge from District employment.”
One would think that a man who attempts to live a godly lifestyle would make for a good role model. The state thinks differently.
Last week, State Superintendent Randy Dorn issued a statement supporting the school district’s bigotry towards the Christian coach. “School staff exercising their right to silently pray in private on their own is fine. But leading a prayer isn’t. School officials are role models; leading a prayer might put a student in an awkward position, even if the prayer is voluntary. For students who don’t share the official’s faith, players, the official’s public expression of faith can seem exclusionary or even distressing.”
What the school district and state officials refuse to acknowledge is that Coach Kennedy has never forced his players to pray. He uses his constitutionally protected 1st amendment right to express his faith by taking a knee at the 50 yard line after every game. The players that join him do so willingly and based out of their own faith. It is not just his own players that join him. Players and coaches from opposing teams have joined in giving thanks to their God.
Coach Kennedy is not going down without a fight. He intends to fight for his right to express his faith. Kennedy has hired the Liberty Institute to represent him and seek legal action if necessary to keep the state from separating him from his religion.
Attorney Hiram Sasser thinks the school district’s actions are outrageous. “This is not a school being neutral. This is a school being hostile to religion, and we are going to hold them accountable,” Sasser said.