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Published On: Thu, Jul 5th, 2018

Washington State’s Bremerton high school fires football coach for praying, may head to Supreme Court

First Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry said Bremerton High School in Washington State picked on the wrong Marine by firing Joe Kennedy in 2015 after he took a knee to pray after a football game, a practice he has done since 2008. After an appeals loss, the case may head to the U.S. Supreme Court for review.

“The (district told him) if you talk to God you’re fired,” Berry said on the Todd Starnes Radio Show.

Praying Hands (Betende Hände) by Albrecht Dürer

“That prayer would be by itself, silent or very quiet, and no more than 15 or 30 seconds,” Berry said. “That happened for seven years without a single complaint or issue, but as we all know, no good deed goes unpunished.”

As outrage mounted, the school district feared a potential lawsuit from atheists or secularists, the district ordered Coach Kennedy to stop praying. He was told he could not even bow his head or do anything that would give the impression that he was praying to God.

When he refused to comply, Coach Kennedy was fired.

“When the government puts you in a position where you have to choose between your faith and your job, that’s something that no American should ever have to experience,” Berry said.

In August of last year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate former Bremerton High School football coach.
A leftists three-judge panel ruled Wednesday that Kennedy was acting as a teacher, with a duty to the district, students and parents to set an example and “communicate demonstratively” to those groups. The appeals court found Kennedy “took advantage of his position to press his particular views upon impressionable and captive minds before him.”

The First Liberty Institute filed a petition for review of Coach Kennedy’s case with the United States Supreme Court. Berry believes it could be a precedent-setting case.“This could define whether public school employees are going to lose their First Amendment rights just by virtue of being a public school employee,” Berry said on the radio show.

Kennedy is only asking for is his job back, so he can start doing what he loves again.

“The U.S. Supreme Court is pretty much the end of the road when it comes to appealing a legal ruling,” Berry said. “We’ve asked the court to overturn the decision of the Ninth Circuit and of the District Court there in Washington.”

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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