Sports Illustrated lambasted the upcoming Supreme Court ruling that is likely to affirm that a high school football coach can pray during a game, with the magazine calling the ruling an “erosion” of a fundamental tenet of American democracy.
Writing for the magazine, Greg Bishop falsely claimed that the expression of religious ideas in government-supported schools violates the concept of “separation of church and state”. However, the United States Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld certain religious expressions in schools, not to mention that attacks on religion in schools are a modern trend that was little part of court cases until the modern era. .
The case was brought to SCOTUS by Bremerton High School assistant coach Joe Kennedy, who was disciplined by his school district in 2015 for praying on the field with his players.
The writer Bishop describes the case this way:
Either way, the coach is an unlikely figurehead in these legal theaters. He was goalless for most of his 53 years. For decades he wasn’t religious at all, and he’s not overtly so now. He has never followed football so closely. And yet he is now at the center of a seven-year legal dispute that began with this alliance: praying after every game. It turned into a controversy, then a circus, then a lawsuit centering on the First Amendment and its terms. It turned into a political brawl. This expanded into a culture war cudgel. And it went through the court system, until case #21-418 landed on the docket of the United States Supreme Court.
Tellingly, when Bishop goes to describe “The Stakes” of this affair, he is reporting it only from the leftist, anti-religious side of the affair calling Christians “white nationalists” and “Christian nationalists” who want to destroy American democracy. In his “The Stakes” section, Bishop does not once cite the party supporting Kennedy’s right to pray on school property. Instead, he cites only those who wish to end Kennedy’s religious freedoms.
Bremerton coach Joe Kennedy leads the team in prayer (Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP)
Later in the story, Bishop ends up talking to the readers of First Liberty, the group representing Kennedy. voluntarily in the case, but does not give them much by direct quotes, only his summation of their ideas and words. And nowhere in the story does Bishop cite any cases that might tend to support the coach’s freedom of religious expression.
Yet during the opening arguments of the case, numerous precedents that support Coach Kennedy’s right to pray during a game were included. For example, as seen on pages 24-41 of the official opening brief, the United States Supreme Court has often ruled in favor of teachers and school employees entitled to free speech and freedom nun during their service. And since Coach Kennedy’s prayer was neither coercive (meaning he didn’t force students to participate) nor sanctioned by the school, his prayer doesn’t amount to religion. sanctioned by the school.
The main thrust of Bishop’s article, however, appears to be to belittle Coach Kennedy. Throughout the play, Bishop consistently describes Kennedy as “aimless,” unchanging and struggling to find meaning in his life, thus coloring the coach as someone whose sudden fame gained from this affair makes him a human being joke. As if Kennedy’s life story made the slightest difference in the case that brought him to the Supreme Court.
Why does it matter if Kennedy was non-religious for much of his life? Why does it matter that Kennedy wasn’t a lifelong football coach? Why does it matter if his prayer was calculated or impulsive? How important is his marriage history? None of this matters to the case, but Bishop piles on paragraph after paragraph after paragraph in this long article giving the man short-sightedness and disparaging his existence as if it were all so significant. What is clear is that Bishop is trying to undermine the case in the minds of readers by making Kennedy look like a hapless clown who is unworthy of being at the center of such a major court case.
Bishop’s contempt for Coach Kennedy is apparent from this article and is best revealed in one of the final paragraphs of this smear work:
Does Kennedy know? Does he care? Or has he evolved to accept playing the “hero” and having such an important goal? Maybe the political operatives who backed him found the perfect target, a man looking for a calling, a big stage. They gave him the greatest theater imaginable – the Supreme Court – to push their agenda, while groups fighting for their own goals joined them. After all, football never drove Kennedy, nor did faith, until more recently. But this saga of faith and football now reads like Kennedy’s own Christian football movie. He’s the hero. He wins, and for everyone on his side.
Bishop’s final attack makes it clear that he thinks Coach Kennedy is an important lackey who lacks the mental or emotional capacity to be allowed to serve as the center of interest in this momentous matter. And so, the deal itself is illegitimate because he doesn’t like the coach.
Throughout the article, Bishop also attacks those bad conservatives who “fill the courts” and undermine democracy.
In another segment of this lengthy libel article, Bishop reacts with concern that during the Reagan years, conservatives began to “undertake a systematic filling of the courts with judges who don’t really believe in separation.”
What he fails to note is that this trend that began in the 1980s was not a conspiracy born out of thin air but a reaction to decades of leftist judges handing down rulings that undermined the US Constitution. , American traditions and societal stability. Conservatives did not just wave their hands one day and decide to “fill the courts” with like-minded activist judges. It was a movement born out of decades of leftist judicial activism.
This Sports Illustrated The article is nothing more than a long smear against Christians, conservatives and white people in general, and Coach Kennedy in particular, and on a vicious personal level, too.
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