Speaking in a Facebook post, Trump ally and evangelist Reverend Franklin Graham, son of famous evangelist Rev. Billy Graham, cheered the reinstatement of Coach Joe Kennedy to his high school football coach position.
As background, Coach Kennedy was fired after he refused to stop praying with his players. They voluntarily joined him in praising the Lord after games, but the school lost its mind of his and their expression of faith and so he was fired. He then took his case all the way to the Supreme Court, winning in what was a major vindication for him and a tremendous victory for religious liberty. In that case, SCOTUS ruled, in the summer of 2022, that:
“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress. Religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.“
Justice Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion for the court, also said:
“Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters. He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the majority.
“Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s. … The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.”
He has now finally been reinstated, which is what Rev. Graham cheered on Facebook, saying:
I am glad to hear that Joe Kennedy has finally been reinstated as a football coach at the Washington state high school he was dismissed from for praying on the field after games back in 2015. His case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where last summer justices made a 6-3 ruling in his favor. Coach Kennedy said, “I am incredibly grateful to the Supreme Court, my fantastic legal team, and everyone who has supported us. I thank God for answering our prayers and sustaining my family through this long battle.” This is great news! I hope that Coach Kennedy will continue to kneel in prayer—on and off the field—and that this win will protect and encourage others in the same situation!
The First Liberty Institute, an organization devoted to defending religious liberty in America, issued a similar message, saying, “We are thrilled that Bremerton and Coach Kennedy are back together and we hope they go undefeated.”
Despite the attacks of the Christianity-hating left, religious liberty persevered thanks to President Trump’s justices. And now a coach can go back to helping coach and mentor his players.
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