Christians in America and around the world could hardly understand why our generation is being too adamant in cracking down on religious freedom. This week, a former Seattle-area football coach called Joe Kennedy has been seeking legal help to reverse a lower court decision that allowed the school district to fire him.
What was Joe Kennedy’s crime? He prayed on the field after football games in the eyes of the public. Reports say he knelt in silent prayer at the 50-yard line after football games. The court has charged him for doing that in the face of the students and fans.
According to sources, in 2016, he was sued in the law court. This followed a suspension from the Bremerton High School for praying on the football field after games. Kennedy was then the assistant football coach in 2015. This had a serious effect on his professional career.
His case is still in the hands of the court. Reports say, numerous “friend-of-the-court” briefs have been filed in the case Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, in which former Seattle-area football coach Joe Kennedy is seeking to reverse a lower court decision that went against him.
Many Americans have thrown their support behind Kennedy condemning the harsh treatment given to him for merely exercising his Christian beliefs in silent prayer. They have been calling the judicial treatment and that of the school “unlawful.”
The president and chief counsel of the First Liberty (Texas-based legal group) Kelly Shackelford representing Kennedy, said in a statement this week:
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support from every corner of America for Coach Kennedy to be able to pray, silently by himself on the 50-yard line after games.”
He continued by saying:
We are hopeful the Supreme Court will protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of getting fired.”
Kennedy hasn’t been alone in this fight for his religious right. Other big NFL players such as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, Hall of Famers Darrell Green, and Steve Largent have all filed the briefs.
These former and current NFL stars have given their support to Kennedy hoping he wins his case.
Shackelford again said no coach or teacher has to lose his job for expressing his religious freedom.
“No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public.”
Finally, in January, the Supreme court agreed to hear the case.
“By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of punishment.”
The first appeal from Kennedy and his legal team got declined by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. The court then forwarded the case back to the lower court level. The U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Leighton ruled against Kennedy in 2020.
In 2022, many NFL stars and a large number of Americans are giving enough support to Kennedy hoping he will be vindicated. Another support is coming from 56 members of Congress, six former U.S. attorneys general, and 60 state legislators.