The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which President Trump has previously chastised for having “a terrible record,” has issued a ruling which indicates that praying on a school football field is unconstitutional.
Joe Kennedy, a football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington, had been praying at the 50-yard line since 2008, and was frequently joined – voluntarily – by players.
When officials took issue with it, Kennedy said he agreed to pray by himself.
“I really tried to meet with the school halfway with everything,” the coach said in an interview. “They didn’t want me to pray with the kids, and I said, ‘That’s fine. Your rules. But I’m not going to give up my beliefs just because it made somebody feel uncomfortable.’ So I agreed that I would just do it by myself on the 50 alone, the way it first started out.”
The problem, according to the 9th ‘Circus,’ is that Kennedy was praying on the field where parents and teachers could still see him. This made his actions, as a public employee, unconstitutional.
Via Fox News:
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.
Feel free to guess what the 9th Circuit’s ruling would be right now if Kennedy were Muslim and wanted to pray on his own. Feel free to guess what the media coverage would be if that same scenario took place. Feel free to guess how many politicians would have stepped up to defend the coach if his religion were different.
“The argument that the 9th Circuit has adopted is basically that if you do anything that’s religious at all that someone else can see, then somehow you’re working on behalf of the state and you’re conveying a religious message,” said Kennedy’s attorney, Hiram Sasser.
Sasser said his client might take this case to the Supreme Court.
The good news is that the 9th Circuit has a terrible track record when their rulings move to a higher court.
…the Ninth Circuit, which has a terrible record of being overturned (close to 80%). They used to call this “judge shopping!” Messy system.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2017
Indeed, according to SCOTUSBlog’s Supreme Court statistics archive, the Supreme Court reversed 79% of cases it reviewed from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Perhaps they can restore some sanity in regards to praying before or after a football game.
“I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and it’s been about protecting the freedom of other people,” Kennedy said when an initial investigation took place in 2015. “It’s about the freedom, and people can believe whatever they want. I’m just exercising my right. The game is over, and I just thank god for every one of these young men that are out here.”
Former “The View” co-host and Full House star Candace Cameron Bure previously defended the coach’s decision to continue to pray.
“If people would actually put more effort into prayer than to fight prayer, you would see a whole difference in this country to see that power of prayer,” she said.
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