We all benefit when freedom flourishes.
Today, The Family Foundation filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of Coach Joseph Kennedy, who was fired from a public school in Washington State after he prayed briefly at the 50-yard line.
Kennedy began saying a brief prayer following games years ago. Initially he did so alone, but some students asked him what he was doing. When they asked if they could join, he responded, “This is a free country,” and “You can do what you want.” When the school learned what he was doing, it demanded he stop, but he felt responsible to thank God for the games in that way. As a result, he lost his job.
At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the First Amendment speech and religious rights protect Kennedy’s brief prayer following games, and whether the Establishment Clause justifies his dismissal.
“We all suffer when our First Amendment freedoms are violated,” said David Walls, Executive Director of The Family Foundation. “Treating prayer with contempt conflicts with the religion clauses of our constitution, which protects our religious freedom. A truly free society should not single out a person’s prayer for punishment.”
The Supreme Court’s modern Establishment Clause cases discuss fostering neutrality towards religion. But when all kinds of controversial speech by teachers is permitted and only religious speech is silenced, it sends a message not of religious neutrality but of hostility toward religion. A short prayer following a game, joined in only by those who wish to join, hardly amounts to an establishment of religion, particularly when the school was clear that it had nothing to do with Kennedy’s activities.
A copy of The Family Foundation’s brief can be found here.
The Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that stands for Kentucky families and the Biblical values that make them strong. Learn more at kentuckyfamily.org.
Photo Credit First Liberty Institute