Muddle in the Huddle of Praying Coach

Barb Wire

For Washington Coach Joe Kennedy, the biggest opponent is off the field — not on it. Bremerton School District’s revered football coach is squaring off against the same anti-faith intolerance that’s claimed so many victims. But this combat victim is no victim. Despite the threats from his own superintendent, Coach Kennedy is refusing to back down on his post-game ritual: midfield prayer.

Every Friday night, under the lights of the football field, he asks God’s blessing on the team effort. Although parents of the kids are firmly behind the Coach, Bremerton’s District launched an investigation into the routine and warned him to stop praying on the field — or he’d have to start praying for a new job. “Your talks with students may not include religious expression, including prayer,” Superintendent Aaron Leavell warned.

But that kind of threat doesn’t scare Coach Kennedy — and it certainly doesn’t scare his attorneys at Liberty Institute, who are representing him in the case. “There is no lawful prohibition against Coach Kennedy’s practice of saying a private, post-game prayer,” attorney Hiram Sasser fired back. “The prayers are Coach Kennedy’s private religious speech, and no reasonable observer could conclude that BHS sponsors, endorses, or encourages student participation.”

And if anyone knows their rights, it’s a man who sacrificed his life protecting ours. “I spent 20 years in the military defending the Constitution and the freedoms that everybody has. All of a sudden, I realized that people who work for the public schools don’t have the same constitutional rights that everybody else has.”

Trending: Wake Up Christians – Silence Is Not An Option

If Bremerton thought that bullying their coach would work, they’ll find out at tomorrow’s game how wrong they were. “I’m not a guy who hides in a corner and does a secret prayer to God,” the Coach told Fox News’s Todd Starnes. “I’m very open about my faith everywhere I go.” Regardless of the consequences, Coach Joe Kennedy will be back on the 50-yard line at Friday’s Homecoming game, thanking God for the opportunity — not just to coach — but to take a stand for Christ. Cheer him on by signing this petition urging Bremerton to step down their attack.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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