The U.S. Supreme Court announced last week that it will hear Kennedy v. Bremerton School Board, an important religious freedom case. In 2015, a Bremerton High School football coach was fired for praying on the football field after games. During his prayers, members of the team began to join him until most of the team was praying alongside him. He also invited members of the opposing team to join them in prayer and eventually began giving motivational speeches after the games that included religious themes.
Soon, Coach Kennedy received a letter from the Bremerton School District. He was under investigation for allegedly breaking the “Religious-Related Activities and Practices” policy.
Kennedy requested a religious accommodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, noting that “his official coaching duties ceased” when once football games ended. He was denied the accommodation. Kennedy is now asking the US Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that upheld the school district’s decision to fire him.
“No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public,” said Kelly Shackelford, President and CEO of First Liberty, which is representing Kennedy in the case. “By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of punishment.”
Kennedy’s ability to do what he loves was wrongfully taken from him simply because he was exercising his First Amendment right as a Christian. Thankfully, the US Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case has provided hope for Kennedy. “Six years away from the football field has been far too long. I am extremely grateful that the Supreme Court is going to hear my case and pray that I will soon be able to be back on the field coaching the game and players I love,” said Kennedy.
This is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to uphold and protect every individual’s right to live out their faith publicly. For 160 years, faith organizations participated fully in government and in schools. God and Jesus Christ were not dirty words. Unfortunately, for the last 60 years, the Courts and radical pagans have been successfully kicking faith organizations out of schools and government all in the name of secularism and “separation of church and state.” They have succeeded and today they are filling schools and government with a radical pagan rainbow religion of dangerous beliefs and ideologies.
It is time to overturn these false beliefs which have no basis in our constitution. It is time for the Supreme Court to overturn the numerous fallacious legal precedents that have infringed upon religious liberty, as First Liberty noted. Religious liberty and promoting God and Jesus Christ must be non-negotiable in all cases. An attack on this freedom anywhere is a threat to it everywhere. It is a cornerstone of our free nation, and it is necessary for human flourishing.
We must take after Coach Kennedy’s example by leading Christ-centered lives and encouraging our children to follow after us. We need more coaches, teachers, and leaders like Kennedy to positively influence our children and make Washington a Christian state again. Prayer should not be confined to the shadows and dark corners. We are called to live our faith loudly, and in the United States, it is a legal right to do so.
This case could be the first step in bringing virtue back to the public sphere in our state. Please pray that God guides our SCOTUS justices and that they rule justly.