Religious Liberty on Trial at the Supreme Court

United States Supreme Court

( – Religious liberty was on the stand again before the United States Supreme Court. This time, the nine justices heard arguments surrounding former high school football coach Joseph Kennedy and the Bremerton School District in the state of Washington.

The case involves Kennedy being fired from his position for praying in the middle of the football field after football games…win or lose. The issue stemmed from the former coach praying in public.

Both coach Kennedy and the Bremerton School District raised First Amendment arguments in their presentations to the court.

According to Kennedy, the Free Speech Clause was being hampered by the school district. The school district claimed the Establishment Clause of the amendment prohibited the one-time JV coach from praying at a public venue.

Kennedy’s response to Bremerton’s argument was a question to the high court. If a school employee “says a brief, quiet prayer by himself while at school and visible to students,” is that a free speech and establishment violation?

Bremerton questioned Kennedy’s potential to have a religious influence on students and whether this would violate the separation of church and state?

The nature of questions by the conservative justices to both sides appeared to lean towards Kennedy’s position. However, both sets of lawyers seemed to receive intensive questions.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh sought answers regarding the timing of the prayers and if they violated the establishment clause. During the game or after? In the locker room?

Other conservatives on the court also weighed in. Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas posed questions to both sides.

What is your opinion? Should a public high school football coach be allowed to pray on the field after games in view of students? Why or why not? Please email your opinion to [email protected]. Thank you.