For years, Coach Kennedy would silently pray on the 50-yard lines following the high school football games that he coached here in Washington at Bremerton High School. After nearly half the team began to pray alongside him, the school told him he could no longer pray publicly.
He decided to continue exercising his First Amendment right, and as a result, lost his job.
Kennedy requested a religious accommodation under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, noting that “his official coaching duties ceased” when once football games ended, but he was denied the accommodation. Kennedy is now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse a lower court ruling that upheld the school district’s decision to fire him.
The Supreme Court is set to hear Kennedy’s case on Monday, April 25th. At issue before the court is whether Coach Kennedy has speech and religious rights to pray in public, and whether the Establishment Clause trumps those rights.
Kennedy has the God-given right to pray wherever and whenever he feels called. We are not truly free to live in accordance with our deeply held beliefs if we cannot pray in public.
This is a monumental case that could forever change religious freedom in the U.S. It is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to protect every individual’s right to live out their faith publicly – regardless of where they are. It is time to overturn the false belief that religious practices must be confined to the privacy of homes or churches. Our faith is meant to be shared.
Focus on the Family and Family Policy Alliance are calling all Christians to show up and storm heaven for Coach Kennedy and religious freedom in the US. On Sunday, April 24th – the day before the court hearing – Christians across the country will be either gather on local school 50-yard lines or join virtually to pray for this SCOTUS case in the nationwide #Pray50 event. Please join us in praying for the protection of our most sacred right.
Find a school 50-yard line and gather as many friends, family, and community members as you can. If you can’t find a 50-yard line, you can meet in front of a school or simply pray wherever you are. You can also spread the word by posting on social media using the hashtag #Pray50.
The power of prayer and Christian community cannot be overstated. Matthew 18:20 tells us “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” As we gather to pray, God will be with us, and nothing is impossible for Him.
“Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. It is kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you.” – Priscilla Shirer
I did not realize this when I was a Democratic State Representative or Republican State Senator, but our nation’s redemption will never occur by focusing on electing Republican or Democratic Party candidates each November election. Our nation will only be saved physically and spiritually when enough citizens unite and imitate Coach Kennedy’s courageous witness of faith and challenge the growing darkness with the light of Jesus Christ. That day is coming!