The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted the religious freedom case after previously rejecting it
A Seattle high school football coach who was fired for refusing to stop praying after games has taken the case to the Supreme Court.
Joe Kennedy, who worked as a coach for Bremerton High School in Seattle, was fired and sued by the school after he refused to stop his postgame ritual, which included a 15-second kneeling prayer on the field of soccer.
In a 2015 complaint, the Bremerton School District called the “overtly religious references” in Kennedy’s prayers and inspirational speeches “problem” and demanded that the coach focus instead on “appropriate themes such as unity, teamwork, responsibility, [and] security.”
“Your interviews with students may not include religious expression, including prayer. They must remain entirely secular in nature, in order to avoid the alienation of any member of the team”, the district reigned.
Kennedy was suspended and then fired from his post for refusing to toe the line and an appeal to the Supreme Court in 2019 was dismissed. On Friday, however, the Supreme Court announced that it would finally accept the case.
Kelly Shackelford, whose First Liberty Institution represents Kennedy, said in a statement that “No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith in public.”
“By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including prayer in public, without fear of punishment,” she stated.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State leader Rachel Laser, however, argued that “Impressive Students” had felt “pressed by their coach to participate in public prayer several times” and said the school district was within its rights to fire Kennedy over it.