High school football coach asks Supreme Court for help after being fired for praying


by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) –
A former high school football coach who was fired for praying after games is now asking the US Supreme Court to consider his case of unlawful dismissal, Fox News reports. Joe Kennedy is appealing to the Supreme Court following a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Bremerton School District in Washington state had fired him lawfully.

A retired marine, Kennedy began coaching high school football in Bremerton in 2008, Fox reports. Kennedy had made a promise to God that he would give Him thanks after each game, “win or lose, for the opportunity to be a football coach and for my players,” he told Fox News. Kennedy had been inspired to this by the Christian movie ‘Facing the Giants,’ he said.

After each game, Kennedy would walk out onto the middle of the field, kneel and give thanks in a short prayer. “This simple act of gratitude cost me the job I love,” Kennedy said.

After first telling Kennedy not to involve the players in his prayer, the school district then instructed him not to pray where anybody could see him. Feeling shamed for his faith, Kennedy said: “As a proudly retired U.S. Marine, something inside me stirred. I would have given my life defending the religious freedom of any American, and yet that very right was denied to me. That just seemed wrong and unjust.” However, Kennedy was dismissed for refusal to comply with school board orders, and a long legal battle has ensued.

Represented by First Liberty Institute, Kennedy has argued that the school district infringed on his constitutional rights. In a statement Tuesday, Kelly Shackelford, president, CEO, and chief counsel at First Liberty, said: “The Ninth Circuit’s opinion threatens the rights of millions of Americans who simply want to be able to freely exercise their faith without fear of losing their job. We hope the Supreme Court will right this wrong and restore Coach Kennedy to the football field where he belongs.”

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