We all know that religious freedoms are part of our Constitution – or at least we should know that. However, it seems that some are rather confused about those freedoms, particularly how they can be expressed on government property.
Introducing high school football coach Joseph Kennedy. In 2015, he was caught praying with his football players after their games on the 50-yard line. It wasn’t a mandatory prayer; students were allowed to choose to join in or not.
And yet, some on the school board took up issue with those prayers.
Weeks later, Kennedy was fired after refusing to abandon the practice.
Just like he should have, Kennedy took the matter to court, claiming that it was indeed his right to pray if he wanted to, even leading others in prayer and even on school property.
Of course, the school district claimed the opposite, that Kennedy’s prayers violated the Constitution’s insistence that government (or government-paid individuals such as Kennedy in a professional setting) should endorse any kind of religion.
Now, there is some validity to this, clearly, as the separation of Church and State goes.
However, it’s also clear to see, at least in Kennedy’s case, that the argument against the football coach wasn’t exactly sound.
For starters, he never required students to participate. Even the liberal-backed ESPN noted this, admitting that sometimes it was actually the students who asked to join in prayers.
Additionally, a recent Supreme Court ruling decided in Kennedy’s favor.
According to the decision, “The Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect an individual engaging in a personal religious observance from governmental reprisal.” This means that the “Constitution neither mandates nor permits the government to suppress such religious expression.”
For Kennedy, this means he’ll be getting his job at the high school back in August, according to a representative from the school district who spoke to The Washington Times.
It also means that for several other similar cases around the nation, prayers will not be forbidden on the gridiron.