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ICC Note: As previously reported, Washington high school football coach Joe Kennedy was suspended from his position for refusing to comply with the school’s orders to cease post-game prayers on the field. Although no students or faculty were forced to join him in prayer, his actions were brought into question due to his role as a public employee. Most recently, a US circuit Court of Appeals upheld the school district’s decision to suspend the coach.

By Todd Starnes

08/23/2017 United States (Fox News) – A Washington state high school football coach who was punished for taking a knee at the 50-yard line for a post-game prayer violated the U.S. Constitution, according to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel ruled the Bremerton School District was justified in suspending Coach Joe Kennedy after he took a knee and prayed silently at midfield after football games.

“When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected,” the 9th Circuit wrote.

Kennedy, who served as an assistant coach at Bremerton High School from 2008-2015, was ordered to refrain from bowing his head, taking a knee or doing anything that could be perceived as praying on public school property.

To be fair – it’s not like Coach Kennedy was conducting a Billy Graham Crusade at midfield. He would simply take a knee, bow his head, thank God for a good game and 30 seconds later – he went about his business.

“An objective student observer would see an influential supervisor do something no ordinary citizen could do – perform a Christian religious act on secured school property while surrounded by players – simply because he is a coach,” the judges wrote.

The evangelical Christian was suspended in 2015 when he defied school officials and continued his post-game religious ritual.


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