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Football coach joe kennedy facts today, v bremerton school district

Before a football game, Bremerton High School assistant coach Joe Kennedy kneels in the middle of a prayer circle.
Before a football game, Bremerton High School assistant coach Joe Kennedy kneels in the middle of a prayer circle.
The Supreme Court says that the Washington football coach who prayed on the field did not break the law.

Monday, the Supreme Court sided with a football coach from Washington state who wanted to kneel and pray on the field after games.

The court decided that former high school football coach Joe Kennedy's prayer was protected by the First Amendment by a vote of 6-3, based on how the justices felt about religion.

Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion, "The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike."

In 2016, Kennedy was put on leave because he kept praying at midfield even after the Bremerton School District in Washington told him it could lead to a lawsuit against the school system.

He was told that he couldn't pray with the students and that any religious things he did on his own had to be done in a way that didn't look like he was trying to get them to do something.

On April 25, 2022, Joe Kennedy, who used to be an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, answers questions about his court case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.
On April 25, 2022, Joe Kennedy, who used to be an assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, answers questions about his court case, Kennedy v. Bremerton School District.

In 2008, Kennedy began to pray by himself. Eventually, he let his students join him. In the end, he was in charge of prayers in the locker room.

In 2015, the school district told him to stop, so Kennedy said he prayed at the 50-yard line without his students.

In 2016, he was put on leave, and his job wasn't renewed.

The case of the coach became a cause célèbre on the right, and Kennedy spoke about it at a Donald Trump rally that same year.

Was Kennedy's prayer a personal act or a formal endorsement? That was the question.

At least one player said in an anonymous report that he thought he would lose playing time if he didn't join Kennedy's prayer.

Joe Kennedy, a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, kneels down in front of the US Supreme Court after his case has been argued.
Joe Kennedy, a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, kneels down in front of the US Supreme Court after his case has been argued.

The district's lawyers said that they had no problem with the coach praying alone or going back to the field after the students went home. They said that letting him pray at the 50-yard line right after a game in front of the whole school could be seen as the government supporting religion.

The court's decision on Monday is the latest one that goes in favor of religious plaintiffs. Last week, a court said that the state of Maine can't keep religious schools out of a public program that helps private school students pay for tuition. This will make it easier for religious institutions to get money from taxpayers.

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