Praying After a Football Game? It Could Get You Fired

Jonathan Street /

God and football have gone together for as long as the sport has existed. It wasn’t uncommon to see a huddle in the locker room before a game where the coach would say a prayer and everyone would make the sign of the cross before they ran out onto the field.

Over the years, the Democrats have managed to shoo Christianity out of the locker rooms, the football stadiums, and everywhere else they see a Christian who might want to pray.

One coach lost his job for praying on the field after a high school football game. And for six years, the battle has continued so that he could get his job back – and show that the school district acted in an unacceptable way.

The Supreme Court finally heard that lawsuit.

High school football coach Joseph Kennedy was fired from his position as varsity assistant coach at Bremerton High School in the state of Washington. Kennedy, a devout Christian, refused to quit praying on the 50-yard-line following the games. He was fired because of his refusal, and because the praying took place in view of the public.

Kennedy said that the school district Violated the “Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.” The district has also chosen to use the First Amendment to justify why they fired him.

The district believed that because the prayers were happening in front of the public and the students, it could be seen as a district endorsement of religion. They even went as far as saying that the praying was in violation of the Establishment Clause.

Kennedy didn’t want to let it go. So, he asked the Court to decide. As he reported, he wanted to see if a public school employee saying, “a brief, quiet prayer by himself while at school and visible to students” is covered by the First Amendment – and further, if the Establishment clause “compels public schools to prohibit it.”

The Supreme Court weighed in – and with the conservative majority, it was interesting to see some of the questions asked as they posed hypothetical scenarios.

Kennedy’s attorney, Paul Clement, also made it clear that the school never tried to make a claim of coercion in terms of getting students to participate in the prayer.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh pointed out that it wasn’t like a huddle up with a prayer. He asked the school district’s attorney, Richard Katskee, how the school district would handle a situation in which a coach made a sign of the cross before the game.

Katskee explained, “If the coach is doing it while not making himself the center of attention at the center of the field, it’s perfectly fine.”

Kavanaugh responded by explaining, “I don’t know how we could write an opinion that would draw a line based on not making yourself the center of attention as the head coach of a game.”

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito asked hypotheticals of Katskee to see where the line is for the district. Would Kennedy have been disciplined if he knelt during the national anthem to protest racism? What if he were to wave a Ukrainian flag out in the middle of the field?

Katskee maintained that the reason the district fired Kennedy is that he was praying as the coach of the football team and not as a private citizen.

Clement believes that the midfield prayer was a private religious expression. Further, he goes on to say that the district was acting “out of endorsement concerns” as opposed to concern for safety or the number of players who may join the coach in prayer.

A liberal federal appeals court – the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit – had already ruled against Kennedy to say that the school district would have been in violation of the Establishment Clause if they did not fire Kennedy because it appeared that he was endorsing religion.

This ruling and subsequent appeal are what landed the case in front of the Supreme Court.

Originally, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case in 2019. However, Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch said that the reasoning used by the Ninth Court was “troubling.”

Both the Lemon test and the Coercion test will be used by the justices to determine the outcome of this case – and the decision should be made by the end of June.

Until then, with Democrats getting so crazy about religion, you might want to pray out of view of the public if you want to hold onto your job.