BREAKING: Coach Fired for Prayer: Supreme Court Hears Arguments Today
Washington D.C. – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Kennedy v. Bremerton School District case regarding Coach Joseph Kennedy’s free exercise of religion. Coach Kennedy was fired from a public school in Washington State after he exercised his religious freedom by praying briefly at the 50-yard line. In March, Texas Values, along with Family Policy Alliance and other state family policy councils filed a legal amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Coach Kennedy.
Jonathan Saenz, president and attorney for Texas Values released the following statement:
“Faith, family, and football – that’s what we support in Texas. We believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will protect Coach Kennedy’s First Amendment free speech and religious freedom. No coach should be fired for a voluntary prayer.”
Coach Kennedy began saying a brief prayer following games years ago. Initially, he did so alone, but some students asked him what he was doing. When they asked if they could join, he responded,
“This is a free country,” and “You can do what you want.” Some students joined in on the prayers; other days he prayed alone. Kennedy’s prayers went apparently unnoticed by school officials for seven years. The school demanded he stop. When he refused, the school fired him. An issue before the Supreme Court is whether the First Amendment speech and religious rights protect Kennedy’s brief prayer following games and whether the Establishment Clause justifies his dismissal.
The clear message sent by the school district is that of hostility toward religion. The Establishment Clause and First Amendment rights have always protected against this type of hostility by governmental entities against religious activity.