Victory for praying coach is victory for those who believe in the First Amendment
While other recent Supreme Court decisions have garnered a lot of attention recently, one made Monday should have anyone who believes in the First Amendment celebrating.
In a 6-3 decision, the high court ruled that high school football coach Joe Kennedy was wrongly fired because he insisted on continuing his right to silently pray despite the school telling him he could not. The court said this violated Kennedy’s First Amendment right to religious freedom.
For those not familiar, Kennedy was the coach at Bremerton High School in Washington state, which is a public school. After games, Kennedy would kneel at the 50-yard line and silently pray alone. When players noticed and approached him to ask if they could join, he allowed them to. Never once did he state or imply that he expected his players to do so or that the school that employed him was endorsing Christianity over other religions, but that apparently wasn’t enough for the anti-religion zealots.
The argument against Kennedy was that by allowing him to pray in public, the players could feel compelled to participate if they otherwise would not have for fear that the coach would withhold playing time from them if they didn’t. But if he never said or did anything that could make any reasonable person think that, why should the coach be punished?
In our view, the court scored a touchdown here.
Just because someone is at work, does not mean they should have to surrender their right to religious freedom. The First Amendment does not end at the public school’s property line.
We doubt that the three liberal justices who voted against Kennedy would prohibit him from wearing religious headwear like a yarmulke, hijab (yes, we know only Muslim women wear these, but the point remains) or turban while on the job even though these are every bit as publicly expressive of their respective religions as a silent prayer.
We believe the liberal justices — like many left-wing anti-Christians — feel that the mere mention of Christianity in school should be verboten, which goes against any plain reading of the First Amendment.
We hope this will serve as the final word to any other public school that wishes to stifle silent prayer in the name of “separation of church and state.”
We also hope that those who wish to practice their religion in an unobstructive manner such as praying silently while at work will now feel free to do so, as the Constitution allows.