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Barb Wire

Praying Football Coach Attacked By School Board

Faith and Freedom with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and BarbWire’s Matt Barber… An 11-minute weekday radio program discussing hot topics in the area of religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the family.

The time is soon approaching for Coach Joe Kennedy, with regards to his future, as a high school football coach in the high school in which he coaches because he has now been given the ultimatum by the superintendent that he cannot pray after the game where students are able to observe him or where they are present.

Mat Staver: Matt, Coach Joe Kennedy is the coach, who on his own, at the end of the game, goes to the middle of the field and takes a knee to pray. He doesn’t ask his players to show up. He doesn’t ask people from the opposing team or anybody. It is just a time for him to go out in the middle of the field to give thanks to God.

He goes to the fifty yard line, he offers a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing after every football game. And he drew the inspiration of his post game prayers from the movie, Facing the Giants. This is the movie created by the Kendrick brothers from the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, which is a movie about competing football teams. And at the end of the games there in that movie, the coach goes out in the middle of field and takes a knee…

Matt Barber: Well that’s right. This is Bremerton High School in Washington State. Coach Joe received a letter from the Superintendent Aaron Leavell, and in it the superintendent is effectively, he is violating Coach Kennedy’s constitutional rights. We need to be very clear on the onset here, and we have talked about this case before, Mat.

But it is this coach’s unfettered constitutional right to go out to the middle of the field and pray, of his own volition, and not encourage students to join him or anything. And to try to force him not to IS a First Amendment violation.

Well he received a letter from the district, from Superintendent Leavell saying, “Any further violations will be grounds for discipline up to and including discharge from district employment…” this was an October 23rd letter.


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