Students aren’t the only ones who get suspended from Washington’s Bremerton High School. Based on yesterday’s decision, so do coaches. That’s the latest in the outrageous case of Joe Kennedy, the devout Christian at the center of a First Amendment firestorm. Less than two days before the Knights next football game, the team learned that it won’t have one of its biggest weapons on the field: Coach Kennedy.
After defying the school’s order and praying at the midfield line after the October 23rd game, the superintendent suspended the Marine vet until further notice. “You violated [our] directives by engaging in overt, public, and demonstrative religious conduct while still on duty as assistant coach,” Aaron Leavell wrote, “Effective immediately, pending further District review of your conduct, you are placed on paid administrative leave from your position as an assistant coach with the Bremerton High School football program. You may not participate, in any capacity, in BHS football program activities.”
The decision is a huge blow — not just to Coach Kennedy, but to every Christian who believes they shouldn’t have to check their beliefs the locker room door. The order came as somewhat of a shock to Kennedy’s attorneys at Liberty Institute, who have repeatedly sought a meeting with school officials. “They refused,” Hiram Sasser told Fox News’s Todd Starnes. “It’s unfortunate that this school district is choosing litigation instead of a simple meeting.”
And while the controversy might be local, the Coach’s story certainly has national implications. After the Congressional Prayer Caucus sent a letter to the school district highlighting the constitutional flaws in their decision, Senator James Lankford chimed in again today on Twitter: “Bremerton School District should be ashamed for placing #CoachKennedy on administrative leave for praying on the field. #SupportCoachKennedy.”