Supreme Court sides with Bremerton’s praying coach  

Seattle Times

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a former high school football coach in Bremerton, who prayed with his players and other students on the field, could legally do so under his First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. The high court ruled 6-3 Monday in Kennedy vs. Bremerton School District along ideological lines for Joseph Kennedy, a former part-time assistant coach. Every Republican-appointed justice sided with Kennedy; every Democratic-appointed justice dissented. “Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority. “The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.” The decision marks a substantial ruling in the decades-old argument over prayer in public schools. In weighing the religious rights of school officials with the rights of students to not feel pressured to participate in religious practices, the court came down firmly on Kennedy’s side. Students, Gorsuch wrote, were not required to participate in Kennedy’s prayer sessions, and the prayers were not publicly broadcast.

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