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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

Snotbubbles

Footballguy
I'm confused by this post. It seems like whether a kid felt coerced is exactly the type of evidence a court would want to know.


In this case the district sent Kennedy a warning which said to stop praying with the students.  Kennedy complied with warning and stopped leading prayers for the students but began praying by himself without the children.  The district then suspended Kennedy and pointed to three incidences of prayer at the 50 yard line.  None of those instances involved prayer with any students.  So they prayers at issue for the majority and the even the district couldn't have involved coercion since no students participated in the noted incidences.  Had Kennedy continued to lead students in prayer, I'm almost certain this case would have been decided differently. 

 

whoknew

Footballguy
In this case the district sent Kennedy a warning which said to stop praying with the students.  Kennedy complied with warning and stopped leading prayers for the students but began praying by himself without the children.  The district then suspended Kennedy and pointed to three incidences of prayer at the 50 yard line.  None of those instances involved prayer with any students.  So they prayers at issue for the majority and the even the district couldn't have involved coercion since no students participated in the noted incidences.  Had Kennedy continued to lead students in prayer, I'm almost certain this case would have been decided differently. 


You left out the part where they offered Kennedy multiple other places he could pray, right? And he turned it down.

 

parrot

Footballguy
They could restrict them. They just can't restrict prayer, but allow the others. If they restricted all of it, then they could restrict prayer. I never said otherwise. 

And there is no magical morph needed. Just a general grasp of logic. When a teacher calls his wife to make dinner plans he isn't acting as a teacher. That's not even something people would ever debate outside a topic like this where you just want to win your side. 
I didn't make the morph argument, Kennedy's lawyers did, and the SC majority endorsed it.  You don't stop being a coach while on the field of play and wearing school issued garb and in immediate supervision of your players simply because you are engaged in some non-coaching-related activity at a particular moment.  If your players got in a brawl during this period and you did nothing to stop it, you would be disciplined, no question.  You could try telling them "Well I was on the phone with my wife, so I wasn't engaged in my duties as the coach at that point..." but it ain't gonna hold any water.  We understand this, the SC apparently doesn't.  So take it up with them I guess.    

 
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-fish-

Footballguy
In this case the district sent Kennedy a warning which said to stop praying with the students.  Kennedy complied with warning and stopped leading prayers for the students but began praying by himself without the children.  The district then suspended Kennedy and pointed to three incidences of prayer at the 50 yard line.  None of those instances involved prayer with any students.  So they prayers at issue for the majority and the even the district couldn't have involved coercion since no students participated in the noted incidences.  Had Kennedy continued to lead students in prayer, I'm almost certain this case would have been decided differently. 
Gorsuch is just wrong about this, and there is news footage that shows him praying at the 50 yard line with members of both teams.  Gorsuch even attempts to refute the photograph presented by the dissent, saying it was just members of the opposing team.   The color photo clearly shows members of both teams.

Before he was suspended, Kennedy went on a bunch of local radio shows and at least one national TV show.  His final game before he was suspended was an absolute circus as he was surrounded by players and media as he led the players in prayer.  

Bremerton is a rival high school that our local school plays yearly.   This was big news around here and the facts that you're stating are just wrong.

 
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parasaurolophus

Footballguy
Such a joke that someone would do something personal and private at the 50 yard line. Obviously it’s done there to draw attention.
Do you think all the nfl players that make their way to midfield to pray do so for attention? 

Maybe they do. Maybe i am just numb because every football show or movie seems to have this practice as pretty common. 

 

Juxtatarot

Footballguy
Do you think all the nfl players that make their way to midfield to pray do so for attention? 

Maybe they do. Maybe i am just numb because every football show or movie seems to have this practice as pretty common. 
If they are joining a group of praying players, probably not. I’m sure whoever stated doing this, though, picked the 50 to be seen and joined.  That’s the least private place in the whole stadium.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
If they are joining a group of praying players, probably not. I’m sure whoever stated doing this, though, picked the 50 to be seen and joined.  That’s the least private place in the whole stadium.
Yeah I would think the 50 yard line would be last place you'd go if you want to pray privately. NFL players are doing a group prayer with players on both teams. Meet in the middle. Kinda the opposite of not wanting to draw attention to yourself, in search of some quiet time to pray quietly.

 

parrot

Footballguy
Yeah I would think the 50 yard line would be last place you'd go if you want to pray privately. NFL players are doing a group prayer with players on both teams. Meet in the middle. Kinda the opposite of not wanting to draw attention to yourself, in search of some quiet time to pray quietly.
Also such highly visible praying is effectively forbidden by the Bible, and this is in the New Testament, not the OT that Christians always ignore.  Makes you question how much of a "sincere religious practice" it is when the bible specifically warns against such displays.    

 

Snotbubbles

Footballguy
Gorsuch is just wrong about this, and there is news footage that shows him praying at the 50 yard line with members of both teams.  Gorsuch even attempts to refute the photograph presented by the defense, saying it was just members of the opposing team.   The color photo clearly shows members of both teams.

Before he was suspended, Kennedy went on a bunch of local radio shows and at least one national TV show.  His final game before he was suspended was an absolute circus as he was surrounded by players and media as he led the players in prayer.  

Bremerton is a rival high school that our local school plays yearly.   This was big news around here and the facts that you're stating are just wrong.


I wouldn't doubt that this occurred.  The ruling on this case seems like the majority wanted to protect an individuals right to personal and private prayer and just left out some facts to suit their conclusion.  It muddies the EC waters. 

 

SeniorVBDStudent

Footballguy
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?
Correct.  Thus the problem.  But the evangelical arrogant Christians don't see it that way.  Ironic given the founding of the nation based on folks who were running away from state-sanctioned religion.  Everything comes full circle I guess.

 

Snotbubbles

Footballguy
I didn't make the morph argument, Kennedy's lawyers did, and the SC majority endorsed it.  You don't stop being a coach while on the field of play and wearing school issued garb and in immediate supervision of your players simply because you are engaged in some non-coaching-related activity at a particular moment.  If your players got in a brawl during this period and you did nothing to stop it, you would be disciplined, no question.  You could try telling them "Well I was on the phone with my wife, so I wasn't engaged in my duties as the coach at that point..." but it ain't gonna hold any water.  We understand this, the SC apparently doesn't.  So take it up with them I guess.    


Do you think a teacher should be able to bow their head and say a silent prayer prior to eating lunch in cafeteria?  

 

Snotbubbles

Footballguy
It's labeled in the dissent. Photograph of J. Kennedy in prayer circle (Oct. 16, 2015).

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/21pdf/21-418_i425.pdf    it's on page 45.


Thanks.  I remember seeing the picture.

Based on the dissent description, I think that picture is from the September 11, 2015 game.  

On September 17, 2015 the district told him praying with students would be a likely EC violation.

The October 16, 2015 pic is a picture of Kennedy with players from the other team.

Then there is an October 26 picture of Kennedy with members of the public. 

 

tymarsas

Footballguy
Do you think all the nfl players that make their way to midfield to pray do so for attention? 

Maybe they do. Maybe i am just numb because every football show or movie seems to have this practice as pretty common. 
Yes. Why else do it? Does God only hear prayers said on the 50 yard line?

 

Insomniac

Footballguy
Do you think a teacher should be able to bow their head and say a silent prayer prior to eating lunch in cafeteria?  
Where I went to school the teachers didn't eat in the same room as the students. I'd be fine with them saying grace silently before eating. Would it be OK for him to stand before all the kids in the cafteria and ask them to join him saying grace? In a public school I'd say no.

 

parrot

Footballguy
Do you think a teacher should be able to bow their head and say a silent prayer prior to eating lunch in cafeteria?  
Sure, because I think that should be allowed, but not because he stops being a teacher simply because he is eating his lunch.  If that were the case he could proposition students sexually during his lunch hour, because hey, not a teacher right now👍

Also, I don't think any reasonable person might interpret that as being endorsed by the school, unlike say a coach, wearing school colors, clearly in still in the midst of his coaching duties, going out on the 50 yard line and leading others in group prayer after a football game.

 
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Insomniac

Footballguy
Thanks.  I remember seeing the picture.

Based on the dissent description, I think that picture is from the September 11, 2015 game.  

On September 17, 2015 the district told him praying with students would be a likely EC violation.

The October 16, 2015 pic is a picture of Kennedy with players from the other team.

Then there is an October 26 picture of Kennedy with members of the public. 
He clearly wasn't praying alone and not all the players are wearing the same uniform.

There's also the fact that he made it a public issue by that point.

I'm repeating myself but I expect these "voluntary" prayers are going to become very common, especially in the Bible Belt. At least some of the coaches who do this are going to note who doesn't participate. You have a right to practice your faith but you don't have a right to coerce others to practice your faith.

I also think the Supreme Court is in the process of turning the "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" into the same legally meaningless term as "a well regulated militia".  I shouldn't have to pay taxes to support religious education.

 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
He clearly wasn't praying alone and not all the players are wearing the same uniform.

There's also the fact that he made it a public issue by that point.

I'm repeating myself but I expect these "voluntary" prayers are going to become very common, especially in the Bible Belt. At least some of the coaches who do this are going to note who doesn't participate. You have a right to practice your faith but you don't have a right to coerce others to practice your faith.

I also think the Supreme Court is in the process of turning the "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" into the same legally meaningless term as "a well regulated militia".  I shouldn't have to pay taxes to support religious education.
Nope, but this same Supreme Court just ruled that your taxes can go to religious private schools. Allah Akbar! Hail Satan!

 

Insomniac

Footballguy
Nope, but this same Supreme Court just ruled that your taxes can go to religious private schools. Allah Akbar! Hail Satan!
I know. In my state there have been at least some proposals to allow tax money for religious charter schools. I don't know if it passed.

I'm sure the GOP Justices will be able to find some way to allow it for Christian  religions and still find exceptions to not allow it for others. It'll take a while but they probably have at least 20 years where they can incrementally move towards their goal. No way you get to be a SC Justice without having skills in creative writing /sophistry.

 

-fish-

Footballguy
That photo was used in Sotomayor's dissent.  I don't know if she said that was after the district said not to pray with the students.  I can't determine from that picture when it was taken.
He was still coaching, so it was before his suspension.   He was suspended for praying with players after he was told not to.   Gorsuch wrongly stated that he never did that.

I don't see what's so hard to understand here.

Also, Gorsuch said the photo only showed members of the opposite team.  I don't know if he was looking at a black and white photo, but the one in the link clearly shows members of both teams.

 
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Rich Conway

Footballguy
He was still coaching, so it was before his suspension.   He was suspended for praying with players after he was told not to.   Gorsuch wrongly stated that he never did that.

I don't see what's so hard to understand here.

Also, Gorsuch said the photo only showed members of the opposite team.  I don't know if he was looking at a black and white photo, but the one in the link clearly shows members of both teams.
You don't know who is in those uniforms.  Most of them are probably just Blamtifa in disguise.

 

Snotbubbles

Footballguy
-fish- said:
He was still coaching, so it was before his suspension.   He was suspended for praying with players after he was told not to.   Gorsuch wrongly stated that he never did that.

I don't see what's so hard to understand here.

Also, Gorsuch said the photo only showed members of the opposite team.  I don't know if he was looking at a black and white photo, but the one in the link clearly shows members of both teams.


I'm going by the dissents description of the events.

Picture of Kennedy holding up the helmet and praying with his team (Ex. 7). 

September 11, 2015: "While the District’s inquiry was pending, its athletic director attended BHS’ September 11, 2015, football game and told Kennedy that he should not be conducting prayers with players. After the game, while the athletic director watched, Kennedy led a prayer out loud, holding up a player’s helmet as the players kneeled around him. While riding the bus home with the team, Kennedy posted on Facebook that he thought he might have just been fired for praying."

September 17, 2015: The District’s superintendent sent Kennedy a letter informing him that leading prayers with students on the field and in the locker room would likely be found to violate the Establishment Clause, exposing the District to legal liability...The District instructed Kennedy that any motivational talks to students must remain secular, “so as to avoid alienation of any team member.”

No date given (assume circa September 24, 2015): Kennedy stopped participating in locker room prayers and, after a game the following day, gave a secular speech. He returned to pray in the stadium alone after his duties were over and everyone had left the stadium, to which the District had no objection

October 16, 2015: After playing of the game had concluded, Kennedy shook hands with the opposing team, and as advertised, knelt to pray while most BHS players were singing the school’s fight song. He quickly was joined by coaches and players from the opposing team.  (Sotomayor attached a photo of this).

October 23, 2015: District sent Kennedy another letter on October 23, explaining that his conduct at the October 16 game was inconsistent with the District’s requirements.  During the October 23...games, Kennedy again prayed at the 50- yard line immediately following the game, while postgame activities were still ongoing

October 26, 2015: Kennedy prayed surrounded by members of the public, including state representatives who attended the game to support Kennedy. The BHS players, after singing the fight song, joined Kennedy at midfield after he stood up from praying.

October 28, 2015: The District notified Kennedy that it was placing him on paid administrative leave for violating its directives at the October 16, October 23, and October 26 games by kneeling on the field and praying immediately following the games before rejoining the players for postgame talks.

As you can see from the facts laid out by Sotomayor in the dissent, he was suspended for the prayers he did on October 16, 23, and 26.  Not for any prayers with his team.  Those prayers stopped once the District advised him to on September 17, 2015 the he could not do them as the District thought it would be an EC violation.  The prayers at issue in this case are the ones in October.  

EDIT: Just wanted to make sure that the majority only looked at the October 2015 prayers.  In the syllabus, "The contested exercise here does not involve leading prayers with the team; the District disciplined Mr. Kennedy only for his decision to persist in praying quietly without his students after three games in October 2015."  So yeah, even the facts as laid out by Sotomayor indicate that the incidents in question did not involve players from his own team.

 
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CletiusMaximus

Footballguy
The Bremerton School District finds itself in a difficult position. Although they never fired Coach Kennedy from his $5,000/yr assistant coaching job, the school district was nonetheless ordered to reinstate him "to a football coaching position." Following his victory earlier this year at the Supreme Court, Coach (who had since moved to Florida) said, "As soon as the school district says ‘Hey, come back,’ I am there, first flight." Although the head coach he worked under and most all of the other staff have all left the program, the school district forwarded paperwork to Coach Kennedy as ordered in early August, but he's not yet returned it nor responded to the district in any way.

Instead, as the Bremerton Knights were prepping for the season in August, Kennedy was up in Alaska, meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence and evangelist Franklin Graham. On the eve of the first game, which the Knights won, Kennedy was in Milwaukee being presented with an engraved .22-caliber rifle at an American Legion convention.

The weekend of the second game, which the Knights also won, Kennedy appeared with former President Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. He saw Trump get a religious award from a group called the American Cornerstone Institute.

Coming up this month, Kennedy’s scheduled to give a talk as part of a lectureship series at a Christian university in Arkansas.

The now-famous coach is out on the conservative celebrity circuit, continuing to tell a story about “the prayer that got me fired” — even though Bremerton never actually fired him.

The case now sits in a Federal District Court in Seattle to oversee the re-hiring process and to determine how much money the District owes Coach Joe's lawyers, who are entitled to a statutory fee award.

The story of the praying Bremerton coach keeps getting more surreal
 

Amused to Death

Footballguy
The Bremerton School District finds itself in a difficult position. Although they never fired Coach Kennedy from his $5,000/yr assistant coaching job, the school district was nonetheless ordered to reinstate him "to a football coaching position." Following his victory earlier this year at the Supreme Court, Coach (who had since moved to Florida) said, "As soon as the school district says ‘Hey, come back,’ I am there, first flight." Although the head coach he worked under and most all of the other staff have all left the program, the school district forwarded paperwork to Coach Kennedy as ordered in early August, but he's not yet returned it nor responded to the district in any way.

Instead, as the Bremerton Knights were prepping for the season in August, Kennedy was up in Alaska, meeting with former Vice President Mike Pence and evangelist Franklin Graham. On the eve of the first game, which the Knights won, Kennedy was in Milwaukee being presented with an engraved .22-caliber rifle at an American Legion convention.

The weekend of the second game, which the Knights also won, Kennedy appeared with former President Donald Trump at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. He saw Trump get a religious award from a group called the American Cornerstone Institute.

Coming up this month, Kennedy’s scheduled to give a talk as part of a lectureship series at a Christian university in Arkansas.

The now-famous coach is out on the conservative celebrity circuit, continuing to tell a story about “the prayer that got me fired” — even though Bremerton never actually fired him.

The case now sits in a Federal District Court in Seattle to oversee the re-hiring process and to determine how much money the District owes Coach Joe's lawyers, who are entitled to a statutory fee award.

The story of the praying Bremerton coach keeps getting more surreal
So the school district has been flummoxed about what’s happened since. They complied by offering to reinstate him, they say, and now the football season is in full swing. But Kennedy is nowhere near the sidelines.

Seems like Coach is loving his new-found fame. He's been a media hog throughout this process. But hey, he won his "right" to pray on the 50 yard line in front of parents, students, and the news cameras. Because that's what was important.
 

Mookie

Footballguy
Great work SCOTUS! Order that Coach Praysalot get reinstated to his coaching job even though he was never fired and is making a Heck of lot more money stirring up Trump's base.
 

CletiusMaximus

Footballguy
So all the way to the Supreme Court to fight for his right to pray after games only to...not coach anymore...

I've always thought this was the angle the media was missing, and I'm pretty sure I posted my thoughts on this earlier in the thread here. These incidents took place back in 2015. The head coach and his staff all resigned back then due to concerns about threats and their family safety. The School District only asked him to stop his public displays because they were afraid of being sued themselves by a Freedom From Religion group, so they were caught in the middle. He's the one who lawyered up and took this one all the way up, stating all along the way that he only wanted his job back, when of course that was always a lie. The guy had zero football coaching experience before this and was a part time assistant. He had moved to Florida years before the case even got to the SCOTUS.
 

the moops

Footballguy
It's almost like you all have never heard of someone suing over principle.
Frivolous principles are hardly principles. That we think it is OK for a publicly paid football coach to pray with his students at the publicly funded high school is kinda ridiculous. Pray on your own time in your. own place. It shouldn't be complicated. And we only need to go back to the way too used examples of imagine this was a Muslim coach bowing towards Mecca with his players or what if this was a satan worshipper doing whatever the hell satan worshippers do at midfield.

Pray away. Hell invite players and students. Just do it elsewhere please.
 

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