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Supreme Court to hear case of praying coach

The U.S. Supreme Court Associated Press/Photo by Evan Vucci

Supreme Court to hear case of praying coach

Joe Kennedy, assistant coach for the Bremerton High School football team, had a seven-year tradition of kneeling at the 50-yard line after games to pray. But in 2015, the Washington state school district suspended him, accusing him of endorsing his religion while serving in an official state capacity. On Friday, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case. The court previously denied Kennedy’s review request in 2019.

What are the arguments? School district officials asked Kennedy to stop praying in public and offered him a private space to pray in the press box. When he continued to pray on the field, players and attendees started to join him. The district said it had to fire him to avoid violating a constitutional requirement that the state cannot endorse a religion. Kennedy argues his prayer was a personal expression and had nothing to do with his coaching duties. The justices will decide whether prayer on the field is a protected religious act or an activity the school had a right to prohibit.

Dig deeper: Listen to Steve West explain the case further on The World and Everything In It podcast.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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