In football coach prayer case, students' religious liberty is at risk

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The Supreme Court may be about to fumble a major case involving a former high school football coach who sought to impose prayer on his players. 

The court has taken up the case of former high school football coach Joe Kennedy and his allegations that the Bremerton School District in Washington State violated his free speech and free exercise rights. But the religious liberty that is actually at stake belongs to student athletes who are at the mercy of their coach. Public school coaches cannot be allowed to abuse their position of authority to impose religion on students. 

Kennedy’s attorneys have sought to wave a magic wand and distort the facts of the case in order to secure a victory before the court and the court of public opinion. At various times, they have claimed that Kennedy’s post-game prayers on the 50-yard line were “private,” “silent” and “personal.” 

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None of those descriptors is accurate. An appellate judge even called Kennedy’s attorneys’ version of events a “deceitful narrative.”

Former Bremerton, Washington high school football coach Joe Kennedy.  (First Liberty

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