Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Although Coach Kennedy’s prayers are verbal, he does not pray in the name of a specific religion or deity, and he does not say “amen.” Each post-game prayer lasts approximately 15 to 20 seconds, during which Coach Kennedy is unaware of who may or may not be in the vicinity. Coach Kennedy’s sole intent, as motivated by his sincerely-held religious beliefs, is to say a brief prayer of thanksgiving and then move on. Coach Kennedy has never received a complaint about his post-game personal prayers.To summarize, Coach Kennedy engages in private religious expression during non-instructional hours, after his official duties as a coach have ceased. He neither requests, encourages, nor discourages students from participating in his personal prayers, or coming to where he prays. His prayers neither proselytize nor denigrate the beliefs of others. And he has never received a complaint about his post-game personal prayers. Under these circumstances, there is no constitutional prohibition against Coach Kennedy’s private religious expression, regardless of whether students voluntarily come to the location where he is praying.The Liberty Institute issued a letter to the school district asking them to revoke their prohibition on postgame prayer in time for the Knights’ October 16 homecoming game. The organization has also pledged to represent Coach Kennedy should legal action prove necessary.
Punch back twice as hard.