The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case of a former high school football coach who was fired following a disagreement with the school about praying on the field after games, the Washington Examiner reports.
Joe Kennedy told the Examiner that during his eight years as a football coach he had a habit of going to the center of the field following games to pray, where some students joined him.
"A couple of the kids came up to me and they said, 'Hey, coach, what are you doing up there?' And I said, 'I'm just giving thanks to God for what you guys just did out there on the football field.' They asked if they could join. 'Of course,' I said. 'This is America, of course, you could join,'" Kennedy said.
School officials objected due to concerns that students would feel pressure to join in the prayers and offered a compromise where Kennedy would be given time to pray before and after games in a setting that would avoid any perceived pressure to take part, but Kennedy refused and continued to pray on the field after games.
Now Kennedy, with the help of the Christian conservative legal nonprofit First Liberty Institute, has filed a lawsuit against the school district for allegedly violating his First Amendment rights. An appeals court previously ruled against Kennedy last year, finding that school officials would have violated a prohibition on the government establishment of religion if the prayers were allowed to continue.
Kennedy's attorney told the Examiner that the court will most likely hear arguments in the case this spring, probably April, with a decision to come in June.
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