Americans United in January filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the right of a Washington school district to take action against a football coach who was leading students in prayer.
Yesterday, Americans United filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, telling the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that a public school in Bremerton, Wash., had both the right and the obligation to take action when one of its coaches was discovered leading students in prayer.
Frank McIntire wasn’t looking to hear religious sermons when he attended football games at Haralson County High School in Georgia. But that is exactly what he experienced for six season’s worth of Friday nights – courtesy of clergy-led prayers that echoed from the stadium loudspeaker.
A federal court today rejected a motion by a public high school football coach in Bremerton, Wash., who sought the right to pray with students after games.
Joe Kennedy, an assistant coach at Bremerton High School, was placed on administrative leave last year after he refused to stop praying on the 50-yard line at the end of the school football games. He then decided not to reapply to be a coach this year.
A football coach at a Bremerton, Wash., high school is on paid leave after refusing to end his public post-game prayers. Joseph Kennedy has held the prayers on the 50-yard line since 2008 and claims he has “an agreement with God” to continue them.
In October, the Bremerton School District ordered Kennedy to stop the public display as well as his practice of holding pre-game locker room prayers. The coach agreed to the latter, but said his post-game prayers are private and that the demand to end them violated his religious freedom.
A Washington state high school football coach will continue to host prayers at football games, even though he has been told to quit. Bremerton High School’s Joseph Kennedy says he has “an agreement with God” to pray at the 50 yard line after every game.
Officials at a Georgia high school agreed to stop reciting prayers over loudspeakers before football games thanks to a complaint from Americans United, but a new controversy has arisen in the wake of this decision.
West Laurens High School in Dexter agreed to replace its pre-game prayer with a moment of silence. But before a game on Aug. 21, many attendees interrupted the moment of silence by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison and then singing “Amazing Grace,” which was played by the school marching band.
Americans United, the ACLU and the ACLU of Texas have urged the Texas Supreme Court to rule against a group of public school cheerleaders seeking the right to display Bible verses at football games. The groups filed a friend-of-the-court brief in July, arguing that the Kountze Independent School District should be able to prevent official representatives from endorsing religion at school events.
A former U.S. congressman has asserted that coercive school prayer used to keep high school football players free of serious injuries.