A Washington football coach wouldn’t back down after he was told by district officials to stop leading prayers after games.
The coach went ahead with a prayer at the 50-yard line after this weekend’s homecoming football game, leading to an atheist legal organization to call for the coach’s head.
The Kitsap Sun reports Bremerton High assistant coach Joe Kennedy knelt as his players left the field and prayed on Friday. Players from the other team and others joined him.
An atheist organization, the notorious Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), urged the Washington school district to “stand firm” and punish Kennedy.
FFRF Legal Fellow Madeline Ziegler demanded in a letter that coach Kennedy “must be dismissed” for refusing to comply.
Superintendent Aaron Leavell has said Kennedy’s long-standing practice runs counter to the constitutional mandate for separation of church and state. He said in a statement before the game that staff must refrain from religious expression while on duty.
Kennedy’s law firm, Texas-based firm Liberty Institute, says the district has no right to ban the coach from personally praying. They say he didn’t encourage or discourage students from participating.
The Associated Press contributed to this article
lee todd says
All in the school’s administration who want to fire this coach should be fired instead. Turn the heat up on these turncoats.
Virginia McKee says
Yes. It seems that atheist group is the only ones who have freedom. The entire stadium should stand and recite a prayer out loud for those who believe.
Marilyn Lightfoot says
To condemn the faith of this man and his players is in stark contrast to the every day attitude of young men in this age group who are killing others for no reason causing most of the population fear and death. We need to turn to the source of power that is offered to us through prayer and loving others rather than condemning this coach for being an example for these players. To call them to prayer more privately would avoid this condemnation. May God bless this coach for his idealism and attempt to direct this team to a power source of overcoming their fears and developing their faith. Hopefully mercy and love will be bestowed on him to continue to be an example with a warning to not make it public causing this rejection of the direction he was trying to accomplish.
Mike M. says
In this day and age with what we’re facing, we should be doing this more often. Good for the coach and the kids.
Frederick Davis says
I support him 100%…enough said!!! FD.
George Dawson says
If the coach had been a Muslim leading prayers would the administration have tried to stop him?
Laurence Coventry says
Not likely under a president who describes Fort Hood as domestic violence or the like, while swopping a deserter for 5 al Queda terrorist leaders
Laurence Coventry says
My understanding of the American constitution is that the separation of church and state by the Founding Fathers was to prevent the interference of the state in the free exercise of religion by the people. Christianity has, at its core, evangelisation and public witness, which was well known to the Founding Fathers. This is the antithesis of bigoted pressure groups having the right to coerce Christians into silence and the prohibition of setting a Christian example in public places. Pope Francis was adamant of the right extending to government officials in such cases as that of Kim Davies.
Ffrf is making fraudulent misuse of the Founding Fathers, who quite evidently meant a central inclusion of Christianity in reference to religion, in order to bully coerce and silence Christians. If I understand rightly, your constitution’s first amendment upholds freedom of speech as a fundamental right , not to be tampered with by Ffrf.
I am an atheist, and I have no problem with this coach leading prayer as long as he is not forcing anyone else to comply. This country is getting so goofy! If you want to pray, pray! If you don’t, don’t! No one should be bullying anyone else either way! And I think that is the beauty of our country. Freedom of and from religion.
My comment on here has been refused on the grounds `you are posting comments too quickly, slow down.’ It was my second comment on two different issues. Smacks of censorship – I think I’ll give this website a miss.
Phil Sargent says
That’s also happened to me , more than once….I found out that if you just hit the back arrow at the top and then go back to your comment and re submit it….It works for me…As for the comment it self ????? I type very slow, so I have no idea how they come up with the statement, to slow down, that I’m typing too fast???
The issue here is not this man’s personal religious beliefs or practices…the issue is that he is using his position to foist those beliefs and practices on the members of the team. Freedom of religion applies to EVERYONE, not just high school football coaches.
Phil Sargent says
The article states that he didn’t encourage or discourage any of the students……But as far as I’m concerned, if they want to follow his lead, the better off we all will be.
Our currency states ” in GOD we Trust”
This is the USA
rick Miiksell says
When in a democracy does the majority become controlled by the minority:?
People should carry signs to protest this action and keep him as coach. The atheists think all they have to do is threaten to sue and everybody dances to whatever tune they want. It has worked time and time again for just one single person who is “offended”. By the way, the Muslims have noticed how this succeeds, too. Our Constitution declares it is to promote the general Welfare of the people. Not for special interest groups – that’s where this name comes from. Read the book of Nehemiah. Whenever there was an attack, all the people would run to that location to help defend. Remember the Bundy ranch a few years ago – people (militia) came from all over the US, with their guns, to stand with them against the government. It worked. There is strength in numbers. Gather together and speak up!
Rick Worthngton says
I think George Dawson could be correct! Had they been Muslims praying, no one would have interfered. After all, one mustn’t “offend” anyone following Islam. Perhaps instaed of “In God We Trust” it should be changed to “In Allah We Trust!” I sounds to me as though civil rights in the U.S are getting significantly eroded away – and we thought Australia was bad!
I wonder if this would happen if he was muslim???? food for thought?
Is there currently a law in the U.S. that forbids people of faith whatever it may be from demonstrating it in public? And if not, then where does this FFRF group get the gumptions to make such unlawful threats of prosecution? If there is, then isn’t that law in violation of the original law of the forefathers? Where are the legal bodies to challenge these things and shut the FFRF group once and for all? I’m astounded.
Kick all of the atheist, out of the USA send them to mars. we should be able to pray any time and where we want that is our right. i know that the atheist don’t trust GOD.When they die they in up in HELL it be to late.