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The Supreme Court to hear coach's right to pray on the 50-yard line (1 Viewer)

Should The Coach Be Allowed To Pray Like This After The Game?


  • Total voters
    46

Amused to Death

Footballguy
The Supreme Court ponders the right to pray on the 50-yard line

"What's at stake here is really the ability of teachers and coaches to engage in religious exercise while on duty," says former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is representing Coach Kennedy in the Supreme Court. It is "established beyond doubt at this point that students are allowed to engage in a degree of religious exercise on school grounds," he notes, adding that this case "will clarify the law [as to] whether teachers and coaches have comparable rights to students."

But the school district and it's supporters contest this narrative.

"He was not being persecuted for his faith," asserts Paul Peterson, a parent who's son played for Coach Kennedy on the junior varsity team in 2010. "If it had been a quiet moment in prayer, nobody would have ever said a word about it."

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squistion

Footballguy
The Supreme Court ponders the right to pray on the 50-yard line

"What's at stake here is really the ability of teachers and coaches to engage in religious exercise while on duty," says former Solicitor General Paul Clement, who is representing Coach Kennedy in the Supreme Court. It is "established beyond doubt at this point that students are allowed to engage in a degree of religious exercise on school grounds," he notes, adding that this case "will clarify the law [as to] whether teachers and coaches have comparable rights to students."

But the school district and it's supporters contest this narrative.

"He was not being persecuted for his faith," asserts Paul Peterson, a parent who's son played for Coach Kennedy on the junior varsity team in 2010. "If it had been a quiet moment in prayer, nobody would have ever said a word about it."


From the link, this sums it best:

After the game, the back and forth between Kennedy's lawyers and the school district continued. The school district took the position that while it wished to accommodate Kennedy's private religious expression, it could not allow his midfield post-game prayers because such a public display at a school event would be perceived as the school's endorsement of religion.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
From the link, this sums it best:

After the game, the back and forth between Kennedy's lawyers and the school district continued. The school district took the position that while it wished to accommodate Kennedy's private religious expression, it could not allow his midfield post-game prayers because such a public display at a school event would be perceived as the school's endorsement of religion.
The players getting together before or after a game to pray is perfectly acceptable. The issue is when the coach leads them. I assume he's leading them in a Christian prayer and not, say, a Muslim prayer or a Jewish prayer. I wonder how the Jewish plays or atheists on the team feel. Do they feel they're being left out? Is the coach showing favoritism to his Christian players? Will a Christian player see more playing time because he prays with the coach?

 

squistion

Footballguy
The players getting together before or after a game to pray is perfectly acceptable. The issue is when the coach leads them. I assume he's leading them in a Christian prayer and not, say, a Muslim prayer or a Jewish prayer. I wonder how the Jewish plays or atheists on the team feel. Do they feel they're being left out? Is the coach showing favoritism to his Christian players? Will a Christian player see more playing time because he prays with the coach?


You probably assume right. Can you imagine the reaction if it were a Muslim coach and he led players on the 50 yard line quoting the Quran or chanting Allahu Akbar?

 

Kal El

Footballguy
Jesus called those who call attention to their praying hypocrites. Not saying this guy is, but it’s a valid point. 
 

On my high school JV team, we did the Lord’s Prayer before games, and the coach at least participated. I can bet that there were several guys who weren’t believers, but nobody got upset about it, and that was in 2001, so it’s not ancient history.

 

Desert_Power

Footballguy
From the link, this sums it best:

After the game, the back and forth between Kennedy's lawyers and the school district continued. The school district took the position that while it wished to accommodate Kennedy's private religious expression, it could not allow his midfield post-game prayers because such a public display at a school event would be perceived as the school's endorsement of religion.
My highschool did this after every single game and practice

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
We need a Venn diagram of people who have a problem with a coach leading students in prayer vs. people who have no objection whatsoever to teachers pushing gender ideology on students. 
Agreed. I wonder how many people are outraged at teachers mentioning their same-sex partner are totally fine with public schools pushing Christianity as their preferred religion.

Let the Constitution guide us.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
Jesus called those who call attention to their praying hypocrites. Not saying this guy is, but it’s a valid point. 
 

On my high school JV team, we did the Lord’s Prayer before games, and the coach at least participated. I can bet that there were several guys who weren’t believers, but nobody got upset about it, and that was in 2001, so it’s not ancient history.


My highschool did this after every single game and practice
Unfortunately our history is littered with practices that are no longer acceptable. 

 

Rich Conway

Footballguy
We need a Venn diagram of people who have a problem with a coach leading students in prayer vs. people who have no objection whatsoever to teachers pushing gender ideology on students. 
And vice versa?  The point, of course, being that the first is almost certainly happening on a vastly more widespread scale than the second.  Actually, if one includes the Pledge of Allegiance and "under God"...

 

FreeBaGeL

Footballguy
We need a Venn diagram of people who have a problem with a coach leading students in prayer vs. people who have no objection whatsoever to teachers pushing gender ideology on students. 


I actually agree that religion and gender ideology should be treated similarly, in that it's more the parent's job to interact with their kids on that front and it doesn't really have a place in elementary school.

So at a base, I agree with you here.

But your comparison isn't really apples to apples.  You're talking about leading participation in a religious practice vs. simply teaching about what something is.  The gender ideology equivalent to coaches leading students in prayer would be a teacher telling all the boys to dress up in a dress and walking them around school while they pretend to be girls.  Which obviously is not what they're doing.

A more apt comparison to the gender ideology issue currently at hand would be simply teaching ABOUT religion and what it is in school, not actively leading students in prayer.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
It's cool that the parents actually knew this was going on. So they could take actions if they desired 
But as events unfolded, "it was a zoo," said John Polm, Bremerton High's principal, describing the homecoming game during his deposition. Attendance doubled, five TV stations showed up, and a group of Satanists unsuccessfully attempted to take the field to perform their own competing ritual.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
Seems the coach was getting a little caught up in the attention:

So Kennedy returned to his praying practice right after the game, mainly at away games, and with little fanfare. By the time of the big homecoming game, Kennedy had retained lawyers from the First Liberty Institute. In a letter to school officials, they said that the coach had a constitutional right to pray on the 50-yard line at the end of the game, and that students should be free to voluntarily join in.

In the lead up to the game, Kennedy embraced his newfound celebrity, making repeated media appearances. In a subsequent deposition, he described this media activity as "spreading the word about what was going on in Bremerton."

 
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Amused to Death

Footballguy
True enough, but on that list, praying before a football game isn’t going to be very high.
It may be fine if you subscribe to the religion being promoted. But to the atheist teenager who now feels compelled to join in so he's not labelled a bad teammate or a Jewish kid who feels pressured to kneel and recite Christian prayers, it may not be.

And as the school district complained, the coach was still on the clock and responsible for the players who weren't in the prayer circle. The school offered him options but he insisted on making it a spectacle in the center of the field.

 

lazyike

Footballguy
Jesus called those who call attention to their praying hypocrites. Not saying this guy is, but it’s a valid point. 
 

On my high school JV team, we did the Lord’s Prayer before games, and the coach at least participated. I can bet that there were several guys who weren’t believers, but nobody got upset about it, and that was in 2001, so it’s not ancient history.
Mathew 6:5-8

Jesus taught, “When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men … but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your father who is unseen.”

 Have often wondered about this biblical verse when I see people post on social media to copy and past a prayer.

 
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Amused to Death

Footballguy
School officials say they repeatedly tried to accommodate Kennedy. After formal complaints in 2015, they sent a letter requesting he stop praying with students in the locker room and on the field. The school said he could "engage in religious activity, including prayer, so long as it does not interfere with job responsibilities."

Kennedy initially agreed, but after a month he partially reversed his stance and resumed his original practice of on-field prayers immediately after games.

The coach was then put on paid leave. Both sides dispute whether he was later fired or decided eventually not to return for the following season.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
Can also sit during the national anthem, take a nap at church, refuse to wear an aids ribbon during an aids walk, publicly boo the President of the United States, cheer on Brandon at a Nascar event, etc...lots of stuff you can(and can not do) thanks to the constitution.
The coach is also free to find a job at a Christian school and lead all the Christian prayers he wants (to the extent his employers will allow).

 

IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
I actually agree that religion and gender ideology should be treated similarly, in that it's more the parent's job to interact with their kids on that front and it doesn't really have a place in elementary school.

So at a base, I agree with you here.

But your comparison isn't really apples to apples.  You're talking about leading participation in a religious practice vs. simply teaching about what something is.  The gender ideology equivalent to coaches leading students in prayer would be a teacher telling all the boys to dress up in a dress and walking them around school while they pretend to be girls.  Which obviously is not what they're doing.

A more apt comparison to the gender ideology issue currently at hand would be simply teaching ABOUT religion and what it is in school, not actively leading students in prayer.
I agree that there is a sharp distinction between "teaching X" and "teaching about X."  I strongly disagree that schools are simply teaching about gender ideology, but whatever.

 

Joe Schmo

Footballguy
The coach is also free to find a job at a Christian school and lead all the Christian prayers he wants (to the extent his employers will allow).
Is the coach constitutionally protected from discipline if he directs a satanic prayer at a Christian school while working there?

 

Kal El

Footballguy
It may be fine if you subscribe to the religion being promoted. But to the atheist teenager who now feels compelled to join in so he's not labelled a bad teammate or a Jewish kid who feels pressured to kneel and recite Christian prayers, it may not be.

And as the school district complained, the coach was still on the clock and responsible for the players who weren't in the prayer circle. The school offered him options but he insisted on making it a spectacle in the center of the field.
Then the coach is wrong for making it a spectacle, and I won’t defend that action. I will say that Jewish people and believers do worship the same God, the former only use the Old Testament. I was surprised to find out that Muslims do pray to Jesus, as well, but they merely consider Him a prophet, and not God. That said, prayer should be a private thing between a person and their deity.

 

squistion

Footballguy
I'm not actually.  I see these as being nearly identical issues, their juxtaposition on this forum makes for a handy consistency check.


No they aren't and who has said here that they have no objection whatsoever to teachers pushing gender ideology on students? (and you need define what exactly you mean by "pushing gender ideology"). 

 

IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
You don’t recognize the constitutional element as a material distinction?
I see that that matters legally, but I don't think it should matter in terms of how we view them otherwise.  If you understand why it is good for schools to be neutral on the question of religion, then you can surely understand why it is also good for schools to be neutral on political issues.  

In other words, yes, one of these is a first amendment issue and the other isn't.  But the same notions of pluralism and freedom of thought that gave us the first amendment apply to both issues equally.

 
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timschochet

Footballguy
I dunno. As long as nobody is being forced to pray I don’t think I have a problem with it. Of course I’m no expert on the constitutional aspects. 
 

Interesting side note: one of my business partners is Muslim, not that religious but prays during Ramadan. The other day I was with him when he unrolled his carpet and started to pray. I asked him how he knew where Mecca was. He has an app on his phone that does it for him. He showed me. 

 

the moops

Footballguy
I dunno. As long as nobody is being forced to pray I don’t think I have a problem with it. Of course I’m no expert on the constitutional aspects. 
 

Interesting side note: one of my business partners is Muslim, not that religious but prays during Ramadan. The other day I was with him when he unrolled his carpet and started to pray. I asked him how he knew where Mecca was. He has an app on his phone that does it for him. He showed me. 
Is it called google maps?

 

bigbottom

I put on my robe and wizard hat
I see that that matters legally, but I don't think it should matter in terms of how we view them otherwise.  If you understand why it is good for schools to be neutral on the question of religion, that you can surely understand why it is also good for schools to be neutral on political issues.  

In other words, yes, one of these is a first amendment issue and the other isn't.  But the same notions of pluralism and freedom of thought that gave us the first amendment apply to both issues equally.
Issues of constitutionality aside (and that’s a fundamental distinction to set aside), I don’t agree with the categorical statement that schools should be neutral on political issues. I could probably think of hundreds of examples of political issues that I’m not opposed to schools expressing an opinion on.  Women’s suffrage and indentured servitude as just a couple examples. Teaching the principles of democracy in a favorable light.  Expressions of patriotism.

 

IvanKaramazov

Footballguy
Issues of constitutionality aside (and that’s a fundamental distinction to set aside), I don’t agree with the categorical statement that schools should be neutral on political issues. I could probably think of hundreds of examples of political issues that I’m not opposed to schools expressing an opinion on.  Women’s suffrage and indentured servitude as just a couple examples. Teaching the principles of democracy in a favorable light.  Expressions of patriotism.
Sure.  Lowest-common-denominator civic virtue.  That's all fine.  

If you wouldn't be able to get 80%+ agreement on a particular item, then it probably doesn't belong in schools.

 

bigbottom

I put on my robe and wizard hat
Sure.  Lowest-common-denominator civic virtue.  That's all fine.  

If you wouldn't be able to get 80%+ agreement on a particular item, then it probably doesn't belong in schools.
You could probably get 80% agreement on Christian prayer at many schools across the country. 

 

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