Over the course of my lifetime I have attended or worked at about 700 high school football games. Many times after a game one team and sometimes both kneel down as they’re talked to by a coach.
Are they praying? I don’t know because I couldn’t hear. Probably not. But even if they were, at the risk of sounding nowhere near analytical, a big fat so what?
Before we get to today’s read, some background. Back in February Terence P. Jeffrey, the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com wrote about an incident that took place nearly seven years ago:
On Oct. 16, 2015, the varsity football team at Bremerton High School (state of Washington) took on the varsity team from Centralia High School. After the game, there was an all-American moment. It involved a longstanding postgame activity engaged in by Bremerton assistant coach Joseph Kennedy.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has provided a description of it.
“Kennedy is a practicing Christian,” said the court. “Kennedy’s religious beliefs required him to ‘give thanks through prayer, at the end of each game, for what the players had accomplished and for the opportunity to be a part of their lives through football.
“Specifically,” the court continued, “‘(a)fter the game (was) over, and after the players and coaches from both teams met to shake hands at midfield,’ Kennedy felt called to kneel at the 50-yard line and offer a brief, quiet prayer of thanksgiving for player safety, sportsmanship, and spirited competition.’ Kennedy’s prayer usually lasted about thirty seconds. Kennedy’s religious beliefs required that his prayer occur on the field where the game was played, immediately after the game concluded. This necessarily meant that spectators — students, parents, and community members — would observe Kennedy’s religious conduct.”
The Bremerton School District had barred Kennedy from engaging in this postgame prayer.
The school district fired Kennedy and the 9th Circuit agreed with the district.
The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Betsy McCaughey, Ph.D, is a former Lt. Governor of New York State and author of Beating Obamacare. She asks a terrific question.
Why should traditional religion be discriminated against, while teachers and coaches are allowed to proselytize their woke belief system, displaying Gay Pride symbols and BLM slogans in the classroom? Are children any less at risk of coercion or indoctrination by these ideas presented by authority figures whom they’re eager to please?
Bremerton officials told him praying within sight of students violated the Establishment Clause and asked him to go across campus and pray in the janitor’s office. Kennedy refused, arguing that would send a message that prayer is bad and must be hidden. The refusal cost him his job.
Kennedy’s lawyer told the justices on Monday that the firing violated the coach’s right to freely practice his religion.
And now to today’s read from, again, Terence P. Jeffrey, the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Here’s an excerpt:
When the House of Representatives convened for a three-minute session on Monday, the proceedings opened with a written statement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I hereby appoint the Honorable Andy Kim to act as Speaker pro tempore on this day,” Pelosi declared.
As recorded by C-SPAN, Kim, empowered by Pelosi, then instantly announced: “The prayer will be offered by Chaplain Kibben.”
The Rev. Margaret Kibben stepped to the podium. “Would you pray with me?” she asked with a smile.
Her prayer, as recorded by C-SPAN, lasted about 1 minute and 20 seconds.
Across the street that same day, the Supreme Court was considering Joseph A. Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the case of an assistant coach who prayed in public after football games.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit said, “‘(a)fter the game is over and the players and coaches from both teams have met to shake hands at midfield,’ Kennedy feels called to ‘take a knee at the 50-yard line and offer a brief, quiet prayer of thanksgiving for player safety, sportsmanship, and spirited competition.’ Kennedy’s prayer usually lasts about thirty seconds.”
That makes it shorter than the prayer delivered this Monday by the House chaplain.
That’s quite a prelude. Click here to read all of Jeffery’s great column.