The former Washington state football coach who was criticized for praying openly on the football field has authored a book about the event.
Initially fired from his job for praying on the field, Joe Kennedy eventually won his case at the Supreme Court level. The new book, “Average Joe: The Coach Joe Kennedy Story,” tells how his faith carried him through the eight-year battle.
"If you could take a schmuck like me and change the path of the nation as far as religious freedom and the First Amendment goes, imagine what [God] could do with some other people," he told The Daily Signal.
According to CBN News, Kennedy was fired from his job as the football coach for Bremerton High School in 2015. School officials had warned him to keep his post-game, on-field praying “non-demonstrative” or apart from students, but Kennedy continued to pray at midfield after games.
After eight years of court cases, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Kennedy, saying, “The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.”
"Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway," wrote Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch for the majority.
Kennedy was reinstated this year as the assistant football coach, but after one game, he resigned. He also prayed at midfield after the game.
"As much as they have accepted me, still, I feel like I'm kind of the outsider and still (felt) like I'm on enemy grounds, and I don't like that feeling," he said.
"I knew I was going to be in hostile territory. They were forced to take me back, and I thought it would be the perfect time to resign on my own terms."
Photo Courtesy: ©Salem Books, used with permission
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.
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