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US Supreme Court to hear case of Washington football coach who led students in prayer

SuperDS77

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The SCOTUS need to get this one right and rule that this man, as expressed in the first amendment, has a right to the freedom of expression of his religious beliefs. Even in a government school setting.

The act of this man, on his own going to the center of the field and silently praying after games is in no way, shape or form "CONGRESS MAKING A LAW RESPECTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RELIGION".

The fact that students voluntarily joined him is of no consequence either.



Published: Apr. 25, 2022, 6:37 a.m.
By The Associated Press

"
The Supreme Court will tackle a dispute between public school officials and a former high school football coach who wanted to kneel and pray on the field after games.

The case before the justices on Monday involves Joseph Kennedy, a former football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington. For years, the coach would kneel at the center of the field following games and lead students in prayer. The school district eventually learned what he was doing and asked him to stop.


Kennedy’s lawyers say the Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of religion guarantees allow him to pray on the field, with students free to join. But the school district says Kennedy’s religious speech interfered with students’ own religious freedom rights, could have the effect of pressuring students to pray and opened the district itself to lawsuits. The school district says it tried to work out a solution so Kennedy, who is Christian, could pray privately before or after the game, including on the field after students left, but Kennedy’s lawsuit followed.


The case comes to the court at a time when conservative justices make up a majority of the court and have been sympathetic to the concerns of religious individuals and groups, such as groups that brought challenges to coronavirus restrictions that applied to houses of worship.


But cases involving religion can also unite the court. Last year, for example, the court unanimously sided with a Catholic foster care agency that said its religious views prevent it from working with same-sex couples. Already this term in an 8-1 decision the justices ruled for a Texas death row inmate who sought to have his pastor pray aloud and touch him while his execution was carried out.


The case from Bremerton, meanwhile, has already caught the justices’ attention. In 2019 the justices declined to get involved in the case at an earlier stage. But four justices were critical of lower court rulings for the school district, writing that an appeals court’s “understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling.”


Kennedy started working at Bremerton High School in 2008, and it was his practice at the end of games — after the players and coaches from both teams would meet at midfield to shake hands — to pause and kneel to pray. Kennedy said he wanted to give thanks for what his players had accomplished and for their safety, among other things.


Kennedy initially prayed alone on the 50-yard line at the end of games, but students started joining him and over time he began to deliver a short, inspirational talk with religious references. Kennedy says he never required players to join or asked any student to pray. He also led the team in prayer in the locker room before games, a practice that predated him.


The school district didn’t learn of Kennedy’s practice until 2015. It told him then that he needed to stop praying with students or engaging in overtly religious activity while still “on duty” as a coach. After Kennedy continued to pray on the field, he was placed on paid leave. His contract expired and he didn’t reapply to coach the following year, the school says.


A decision is expected before the court begins its summer recess.


The case is Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, 21-418.
 

Tlrmln

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The SCOTUS need to get this one right and rule that this man, as expressed in the first amendment, has a right to the freedom of expression of his religious beliefs. Even in a government school setting.

The act of this man, on his own going to the center of the field and silently praying after games is in no way, shape or form "CONGRESS MAKING A LAW RESPECTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RELIGION".

The fact that students voluntarily joined him is of no consequence either.



Published: Apr. 25, 2022, 6:37 a.m.
By The Associated Press

"
The Supreme Court will tackle a dispute between public school officials and a former high school football coach who wanted to kneel and pray on the field after games.

The case before the justices on Monday involves Joseph Kennedy, a former football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington. For years, the coach would kneel at the center of the field following games and lead students in prayer. The school district eventually learned what he was doing and asked him to stop.


Kennedy’s lawyers say the Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of religion guarantees allow him to pray on the field, with students free to join. But the school district says Kennedy’s religious speech interfered with students’ own religious freedom rights, could have the effect of pressuring students to pray and opened the district itself to lawsuits. The school district says it tried to work out a solution so Kennedy, who is Christian, could pray privately before or after the game, including on the field after students left, but Kennedy’s lawsuit followed.


The case comes to the court at a time when conservative justices make up a majority of the court and have been sympathetic to the concerns of religious individuals and groups, such as groups that brought challenges to coronavirus restrictions that applied to houses of worship.


But cases involving religion can also unite the court. Last year, for example, the court unanimously sided with a Catholic foster care agency that said its religious views prevent it from working with same-sex couples. Already this term in an 8-1 decision the justices ruled for a Texas death row inmate who sought to have his pastor pray aloud and touch him while his execution was carried out.


The case from Bremerton, meanwhile, has already caught the justices’ attention. In 2019 the justices declined to get involved in the case at an earlier stage. But four justices were critical of lower court rulings for the school district, writing that an appeals court’s “understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling.”


Kennedy started working at Bremerton High School in 2008, and it was his practice at the end of games — after the players and coaches from both teams would meet at midfield to shake hands — to pause and kneel to pray. Kennedy said he wanted to give thanks for what his players had accomplished and for their safety, among other things.


Kennedy initially prayed alone on the 50-yard line at the end of games, but students started joining him and over time he began to deliver a short, inspirational talk with religious references. Kennedy says he never required players to join or asked any student to pray. He also led the team in prayer in the locker room before games, a practice that predated him.


The school district didn’t learn of Kennedy’s practice until 2015. It told him then that he needed to stop praying with students or engaging in overtly religious activity while still “on duty” as a coach. After Kennedy continued to pray on the field, he was placed on paid leave. His contract expired and he didn’t reapply to coach the following year, the school says.


A decision is expected before the court begins its summer recess.


The case is Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, 21-418.

No one is stopping him from praying on his own time, on his own property. He's being paid to do a job, not to play act a farce.
 

SuperDS77

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I bet this court again throws out generations of precedent and rules politically that prayers are okay.
Precedent does not overrule the constitution.

Remember that Dred Scot and Plessy were "precedent".
 

SuperDS77

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No one is stopping him from praying on his own time, on his own property. He's being paid to do a job, not to play act a farce.
So silently standing in the middle of a field is supposed to be prohibited?

Are these atheist whiners mind readers as well?

What if he was kneeling for BLM?
 

SuperDS77

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When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men … but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen.”
Good to see you are reading your bible.
 

Tlrmln

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So silently standing in the middle of a field is supposed to be prohibited?

If the school district doesn't want him doing that on their time or on their property, then yes is should be prohibited.

They don't need to read his mind. He's admitted what he's doing, and using that as a sword to attack the school district.
 

SuperDS77

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So what? It wasn't HIS property.
Taxpayers, of which he was one.

Also, this would still be an issue with the atheist whiners if the school did allow it.
 

j brown's body

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Precedent does not overrule the constitution.

Remember that Dred Scot and Plessy were "precedent".

Dred Scott was based on following the Constitution. They got rid of it by amending the Constitution.

Plessy was decided by their reading of the Constitution. But new information was introduced to the court, causing them to revisit it.

This court, as we see with the attack on Roe, doesn't care about new information. It just rules how it feels

We are no longer a nation of laws. We are a nation of judges. These judges have no trouble getting rid of laws that they simply object to. A state cannot look at laws and fashion other laws and implement them if the court simply throws the old laws away if they don't like them.
 

Crovax

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No one is stopping him from praying on his own time, on his own property. He's being paid to do a job, not to play act a farce.

And once again the goalposts flip. Leftists were happy to let pro atheletes protest on company and while righties said they should do it ok personal time now we flip.

I love the American democracy hypocrisy system
 

Tlrmln

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Taxpayers, of which he was one.

Individual taxpayers don't get to decide what is permitted on school property, nor what school district employees get to do with their time while they're on the clock.

Also, this would still be an issue with the atheist whiners if the school did allow it.

Maybe so, but it would be a totally different case.
 

BlueTex

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And once again the goalposts flip. Leftists were happy to let pro atheletes protest on company and while righties said they should do it ok personal time now we flip.

I love the American democracy hypocrisy system
Are pro athletes government employees?
 

Airyaman

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The SCOTUS need to get this one right and rule that this man, as expressed in the first amendment, has a right to the freedom of expression of his religious beliefs. Even in a government school setting.

The act of this man, on his own going to the center of the field and silently praying after games is in no way, shape or form "CONGRESS MAKING A LAW RESPECTING THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RELIGION".

The fact that students voluntarily joined him is of no consequence either.



Published: Apr. 25, 2022, 6:37 a.m.
By The Associated Press

"
The Supreme Court will tackle a dispute between public school officials and a former high school football coach who wanted to kneel and pray on the field after games.

The case before the justices on Monday involves Joseph Kennedy, a former football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Washington. For years, the coach would kneel at the center of the field following games and lead students in prayer. The school district eventually learned what he was doing and asked him to stop.


Kennedy’s lawyers say the Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of religion guarantees allow him to pray on the field, with students free to join. But the school district says Kennedy’s religious speech interfered with students’ own religious freedom rights, could have the effect of pressuring students to pray and opened the district itself to lawsuits. The school district says it tried to work out a solution so Kennedy, who is Christian, could pray privately before or after the game, including on the field after students left, but Kennedy’s lawsuit followed.


The case comes to the court at a time when conservative justices make up a majority of the court and have been sympathetic to the concerns of religious individuals and groups, such as groups that brought challenges to coronavirus restrictions that applied to houses of worship.


But cases involving religion can also unite the court. Last year, for example, the court unanimously sided with a Catholic foster care agency that said its religious views prevent it from working with same-sex couples. Already this term in an 8-1 decision the justices ruled for a Texas death row inmate who sought to have his pastor pray aloud and touch him while his execution was carried out.


The case from Bremerton, meanwhile, has already caught the justices’ attention. In 2019 the justices declined to get involved in the case at an earlier stage. But four justices were critical of lower court rulings for the school district, writing that an appeals court’s “understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling.”


Kennedy started working at Bremerton High School in 2008, and it was his practice at the end of games — after the players and coaches from both teams would meet at midfield to shake hands — to pause and kneel to pray. Kennedy said he wanted to give thanks for what his players had accomplished and for their safety, among other things.


Kennedy initially prayed alone on the 50-yard line at the end of games, but students started joining him and over time he began to deliver a short, inspirational talk with religious references. Kennedy says he never required players to join or asked any student to pray. He also led the team in prayer in the locker room before games, a practice that predated him.


The school district didn’t learn of Kennedy’s practice until 2015. It told him then that he needed to stop praying with students or engaging in overtly religious activity while still “on duty” as a coach. After Kennedy continued to pray on the field, he was placed on paid leave. His contract expired and he didn’t reapply to coach the following year, the school says.


A decision is expected before the court begins its summer recess.


The case is Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, 21-418.
Would you be OK if a Muslim led prayers on a football field?
 

Mina

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The SCOTUS need to get this one right and rule that this man, as expressed in the first amendment, has a right to the freedom of expression of his religious beliefs. Even in a government school setting.

I'd like to think the court would decide this is a clear case of the coach having gone to far -- but with the court stacked with right-wing operatives, I'd expect it to go the other way.

One reality check is to picture how the community would react if it had been a religious message they weren't as comfortable with. For example, what if the coach went out and lay down a pentagram and said prayers to Lucifer? What if he'd brought out a Muslim prayer rug, and gave a sermon to team members about how there is no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet? What if it had been a sermon about how eating meat is evil, or how those with a faith in God should not seek medical attention for illnesses, but instead should trust in prayer? What if he gave an inspirational talk built on the idea that there is no God and so the players could only trust in each other and their own preparation? Or how about if his sermon had been about how Black people are inferior (a position that some religions have, in fact, taken)?

I'm pretty sure the community would have taken the view that any of those things would be inappropriate for kids to be participating in on government property, led by a government employee, during a government-financed event. I don't think they would have taken the view that it's OK because the kids were free not to join in.

If I'm right, and the community would have treated that as an abuse of his position if he'd been pushing messages of that sort, then of course they need to treat it that way for any prayer. Otherwise, the rule is effectively that government promotion of religion is OK, as long as it's the RIGHT religion. And that's exactly the kind of government intrusion on religious matters we should be avoiding.
 
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