|Since 2008, the Assistant High School Football Coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington has had a tradition of praying at the fifty yard line after the conclusion of school football games. At times, students have chosen to pray with him. After seven years, however, the Bremerton School District has now ordered him to stop these prayers. The School District is arguing that Coach Kennedy can exercise his faith, but only as long as no one else can see it, lest it potentially be construed as an endorsement of religion. |
Following the team's homecoming game on October 16, 2015, Coach Kennedy knelt by himself to pray after the game. Unbeknownst to him, he was joined by a crowd of others, including coaches and members of the opposing team, who chose to kneel and pray with him. On October 23, the District told him if he repeated his tradition of praying, his actions would be "grounds for discipline, up to and including discharge from District employment." On October 28, the School District suspended Coach Kennedy.
As Founder and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes led 47 Members of Congress in sending a letter to the District, in support of protecting Coach Kennedy's freedom to continue his non-coercive tradition of personally praying after the conclusion of the games: "[T]he mere act of a single individual kneeling alone after the conclusion of a game to quietly pray coerces no one, even when that individual is a school employee. That others may choose to join him of their own free will is irrelevant, and an exercise of their own constitutional freedoms." Read the full letter, here.
Question of the Week: Do you believe that Coach Kennedy should be banned from praying after the conclusion of school football games?
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