Take a knee on the field during The National Anthem and you’re celebrated as a social justice warrior.
Do it in the name of God… prepare to lose your job.
Enter Coach Kennedy.
Kennedy was head coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity football team and an assistant coach for the varsity team. Before he even coached his first game, this Marine Corps veteran turned football coach made a commitment to God that he would give thanks after every game—win or lose—for the opportunity to be a football coach and for his players.
So, after his very first football game in 2008, Coach Kennedy waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee in a private, 15-second silent prayer thanking God for his players.
Coach Kennedy continued doing this after every game for seven years and no students, coaches or parents ever complained about it. In fact, it was a compliment that started his trip to the Supreme Court.
After receiving a compliment from a school administrator in October of 2015 about how they were grateful for Coach Kennedy’s leadership and great example for the team through his silent prayers, Bremerton High School responded with a demand letter to the coach threatening his fundamental right to free speech and religious exercise. The Bremerton School District superintendent sent Kennedy an official letter from the school district, telling him that he must stop engaging in “demonstrative religious activity.
This is where First Liberty stepped up to the plate. They have been extremely active on this case for almost 3 years, acting on Coach Kennedy’s behalf though the entire process of fighting this afront to Coach Kennedy’s First Amendment Rights all the way through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who ruled against Coach Kennedy and the First Amendment.
Believing that our First Amendment rights are at stake, First Liberty and Kirkland & Ellis LLP have now filed a petition for writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of Coach Kennedy, asking them to run a reverse on the Nine Circuit’s decision.
“Banning all coaches from praying just because they can be seen is wrong and contradicts the Constitution, “ explains First Liberty President and CEO, Kelly Shackelford. “We must protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including the right to pray in public, without fear of getting fired.”
It should be this simple. Regardless of your respective religion or belief system, the 1st Amendment provides for: Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press. It explicitly states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.
Today, however, these freedoms are under attack. We need defenders of this freedom to fight to protect the desire of our Founding Fathers to pursue “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”.
This is the belief of First Liberty, the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to protecting religious liberty for all Americans. First Liberty believes that in today’s diverse, pluralistic society, the government must protect the constitutional rights of its citizens for us all to coexist peacefully — even when we disagree. And the true cornerstone of that belief means recognizing and defending the fundamental right of every individual – of any faith – to follow their conscience and to live according to their religious beliefs.
As our Founding Fathers declared, religious liberty is our first and most foundational right, it serves as the catalyst of all subsequent freedoms. When religious liberty is threatened or attacked, every other freedom is endangered. And once our First Freedom is lost, it will be gone forever.
That’s why First Liberty is First in the Fight when it comes to defending and protecting our country’s most cherished and profound freedom: religious liberty.
This is an important case that could determine whether teachers and coaches could lose their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gates. What’s more, Coach Kennedy has not been charged a penny through this entire process. We need to ensure that the fight Coach Kennedy started is won at the Supreme Court. First Liberty needs your help, needs our help to put together the case to go before the Supreme Court that will ensure our First Amendment Rights are protected.
First Liberty has started a campaign to raise both awareness and funds to support Coach Kennedy and this effort. Today, I need you to click on this link to First Liberty to contribute to saving our First Amendment. A minimum gift of $50 today ensures the best case possible and gets you a free Coach Kennedy T-Shirt to show your support.
A retired USAF Col, Brian Searcy transitioned into executive roles as a business entrepreneur, writer, publisher, public speaker and frequent media guest. An expert on training and behavior, he is currently the CEO of Main Street Pilot and a Founding Member of Task Force Operation Innocence.