By Angela Lingg
Football coach Joe Kennedy, of Washington state’s Bremerton High School, received a letter on Oct. 28, informing him that he, “may not participate, in any capacity, in BHS football program activities.”
This meant that he was not allowed to join his team on the field, sidelines, or locker room. The reason for the suspension? Kneeling on the field for a short prayer.
Kennedy had the tradition of kneeling on the 50-yard line after every game to offer up a prayer. He never required that anyone join him and he never turned away anyone who wanted to join him.
Over the years, many students chose to join him for a quiet prayer. Even an agnostic student or two used that time to enjoy an “uplifting” moment of meditation.
In the seven years he has prayed on the field, not one had complained.
It wasn’t until an employee from another district mentioned it to the district administrators that it became a problem.
At that point, the district demanded that Kennedy stop praying on the field.
Kennedy politely declined and was thereby suspended from the school.
Kennedy’s case shows how twisted our laws have become. We have become a country that denies First Amendment Rights to a man simply because some individuals got their feelings hurt by a particular religious act or symbol.
This is America, where Freedom of Speech sometimes means that people don’t always agree with each other.
Our laws weren’t written to protect people from mere hurt feelings, but rather to ensure that all U.S. citizens have certain inalienable rights.
In the name of the Establishment Clause, judges have ordered war-memorial crosses to be torn down. Ten Commandments monuments must be hidden from the public’s view, despite their historical influences on our country’s founding fathers, on their convictions, and the subsequent laws by which this country abides.
Our laws forbid teachers to pray in front of a student, because that might be seen as “establishing a religion.”
Where are the teachers’ rights? Where are Coach Kennedy’s rights?
But wait. If you’re a Christian, your rights can only exist as long as they don’t offend someone else.
Never mind if you are offended by crosses being torn down. Too bad. Your rights are no longer valid.
Tell me, how does Coach Kennedy’s praying on the field “establish a religion?”
His act was not an attempt to establish a religion, but rather an example of the exercise of religion in a free country.
Coach Kennedy has poured himself into his football players for the last several years.
Because of his Christian faith, he has instilled principles like honesty, humility, teamwork, discipline, and much more in his players. That would not seem to be behavior that has to be banned.
We should take pride in our freedom of religion, and protect the rights granted to each individual in our Constitution.