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Supreme Court sides with football coach fired over prayer

Joe Kennedy
Joe Kennedy, a former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School in Bremerton, Wash., poses for a photo March 9, 2022, at the school’s football field. After losing his coaching job for refusing to stop kneeling in prayer with players and spectators on the field immediately after football games, Kennedy will take his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 25, 2022, saying the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him continue praying at midfield after games. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

WASHINGTON, DC- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Monday that a Washington state school district violated the religious freedom of a high school football coach who was fired for praying on the field after games.

Assistant Coach Joseph Kennedy was dismissed by the Bremerton School District near Seattle in 2015 after he continued to hold post-game prayer sessions on the 50 yard line when he was told by school officials not to do so.

The District claimed allowing him to pray on the field in such a public setting implied an endorsement of his religious beliefs by the school, and his First Amendment rights didn’t apply.

The Court disagreed, with Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch saying in the majority opinion: “The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.”