The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on a case regarding a high school football coach fired for praying on the field following weekly games. Joe Kennedy states his civil liberties were broken when he was terminated from his coaching role for praying at the 50-yard line following high school football games at Bremerton High School in western Washington state. The case is yet another of many crucial SCOTUS rulings expected this session.
“Every American should be able to have faith in public and not have to be worried about being fired over it,” he said.
According to a report by the New York Times, the district allowed Kennedy to hope by himself. Following 3 circumstances of the coach hoping with trainees on the field and in locker spaces, he was put on administrative leave, and his agreement was ended in 2016.
According to the district’s briefing to SCOTUS, “administrators received threats and hate mail. Strangers confronted and screamed obscenities at the head coach, who feared for his safety.”
The district kept in mind that it had actually gotten numerous grievances and risks following news of Kennedy’s prayers for apparently having trainees join him..
In their argument to the Supreme Court, Kennedy’s legal representatives stated all school personnel must “remain free to speak and pray as individuals on both sides of the schoolhouse gates.”
Kennedy lost his very first effort at appealing the loss of his task at the district court level and prior to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The appellate court held that Kennedy’s prayer totaled up to governmental speech that the First Amendment does not safeguard.
The appeals court explained that the school district used to accommodate his religious expression in such a way that “would not be perceived as District endorsement of religion” by supplying a private place to pray. Kennedy turned down the accommodations.
“They said I could pray as long as it didn’t interfere with my coaching duties. The accommodations they gave me completely removed me for a long period of time away from the very job I had been hired to do,” Kennedy told CNN.
The Supreme Court has rejected prayer as a requirement in public schools in past cases and ruled against organized prayer led by students at high school football video games.