A school district in Washington is investigating a high school football coach for praying before football games in the locker room and for praying after the games at midfield.
Joe Kennedy, who coaches at Bremerton High School in Washington, has prayed at midfield since 2008. Students would join him voluntarily, according to Fox News.
“I’m being investigated for thanking God for the opportunities that have been given me,” he told Fox News host Todd Starnes. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.
“I spent 20 years in the military defending the Constitution and the freedoms that everybody has,” Kennedy added. “All of a sudden, I realized that people who work for the public schools don’t have the same constitutional rights that everyone else has.”
In September, the Bremerton School District issued a three-page letter to the coach telling him he could not pray before or after the football games.
“Your talks with students may not include religious express, including prayer,” Superintendent Aaron Leavell wrote in a Sept. 17th letter to Kennedy. “They must remain entirely secular in nature, so as to avoid alienation of any team member.”
Liberty Institute is now representing Kennedy and has sent a letter to the school district asking them to step back from the ban on prayer.
“There is no lawful prohibition against Coach Kennedy’s practice of saying a private, post-game prayer,” attorney Hiram Sasser wrote. “The prayers are Coach Kennedy’s private religious speech, and no reasonable observer could conclude that BHS sponsors, endorses, or encourages student participation.”
Until the case is settled, Kennedy said he would continue praying at midfield— even if it costs him his job.
“I’m not a guy who hides in a corner and does a secret prayer to God,” he said. “I’m very open about my faith everywhere I go.”
Photo courtesy: Wikipedia
Publication date: October 15, 2015