When Joe Kennedy was fired from a Washington state high school for praying on the field, the story got nationwide attention.
The battle raged for years and ultimately went all the way to the Supreme Court, where Kennedy argued that the firing violated his constitutional rights. Freedom of Religion was back in the spotlight.
At long last, the high court ruled 6-3 that Kennedy was within his rights when he prayed on the field.
The court order ruled that Bremerton School District wasn’t allowed to “interfere with or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion.”
The documents further noted that the school couldn’t “take any adverse employment action against Kennedy.”
However, the “praying coach” was still out of a job at the time — in fact, he’d been out of his job since 2015 when he was originally fired. But this year’s historic ruling has changed all that.
Via The Daily Wire:
Joe Kennedy, the Washington state high school football coach who lost his job in 2015 for praying on the field after games, will be reinstated by March 15, 2023.
In a filing on Tuesday by both sides involved in the case, court records were submitted to U.S. District Court for Western District of Washington Judge Robert Lasnik that state Kennedy would be reinstated to his previous position.
Kennedy will finally get to come back to the field in 2023, and the school can’t punish him for his simple prayer. That’s a major win for those who claim this was a Constitutional issue from the start.
Justice Neil Gorsuch called Kennedy’s firing an act of “discrimination” and added:
Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment.
And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress.
It’s likely that Kennedy will resume his tradition of kneeling at the 50-yard-line and offer a prayer after each game. It was always voluntary for the students to join.
Interestingly, Kennedy lost his case in the district court and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals — he had to get to SCOTUS for the win.
After the decision, the coach said:
This is just so awesome. All I’ve ever wanted was to be back on the field with my guys.
I am incredibly grateful to the Supreme Court, my fantastic legal team, and everyone who has supported us.
I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my family through this long battle.
This isn’t the first time a coach has come under scrutiny for religious or political stances.
For example, legendary baseball manager Tony La Russa said earlier this year that he’ll “never not stand” for the National Anthem. This came at a time when kneeling during the Anthem was becoming common practice.
As for the “praying coach,” many do view it as a Constitutional issue. Our individual rights are becoming increasingly important to voters across the nation, too, according to most polls.
- High school football coach Joe Kennedy must be reinstated by March 2023.
- This comes after his Supreme Court victory, when judges ruled 6-3 that he was within his constitutional rights to offer voluntary prayer on the field.
- The school isn’t allowed to interfere with or punish Kennedy for praying in the future.
Source: The Daily Wire