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A former high school football coach in Washington state who was let go because of his midfield prayers told “The Story” on Monday that he would take his old job back if the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in his favor.
Joseph Kennedy, who coached for the Bremerton, Wash., school district from 2008 until 2015 claimed his termination violated his free speech and religious freedom rights. School officials have countered that his praying was a constitutional issue in his role as a government employee.
Host Martha MacCallum asked Kennedy and his attorney Jeremy Dys about one part of oral arguments when Justice Neil Gorsuch noted the school’s policy prohibits both encouragement and discouragement of prayer, while Obama-appointed Justice Elena Kagan stated Kennedy’s prayer put an “undue pressure” on non-Christian and atheist or agnostic players.
In response to Kagan’s concern, Kennedy said he stopped praying with other students once the district asked him not to.
CONSERVATIVE JUSTICES OFFER TACIT SUPPORT FOR WA FOOTBALL COACH’S ON-FIELD PRAYER
Dys later added that no American should have to face “choosing between their faith in the job that they love. That’s exactly what Coach Kennedy had to face almost seven years ago.”
“And I think what you heard the justices saying today is that maybe the case law that has developed over the years has been making too many people make that very choice. And I think that’s not going to hold true for very much longer. So whether it’s Coach Kennedy or others that follow after him, people of faith have the right to be teachers at our public schools.”
When asked if he would take his old job back if the court ruled in his favor, Kennedy’s response was almost instant:
“In a heartbeat,” he said. “I would be there within 24 hours.”
Dys predicted that the court’s June opinion will likely be that “no American has to shed their constitutional rights when they walk through the schoolhouse gates,” citing a 1969 case’s ruling.