The Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of a Washington state football coach who was suspended over his on-field prayers following games.
The justices’ decision, largely breaking 6-3 along the court’s usual ideological lines, found that the school system infringed the coach’s religious freedom and freedom of speech rights by seeking to block him from engaging in public prayers on the field while flanked by student athletes after games.
The religious liberty case was filed by Joseph Kennedy, a high school assistant football coach who was placed on administrative leave by Bremerton School District in 2015 after refusing to stop kneeling to pray audibly at the 50 yard line after his team’s games.
Kennedy and religious freedom advocates argued the coach was exercising his First Amendment right to pray. But the school district told the justices that Kennedy’s actions were coercive, and players’ parents complained their children on the team felt compelled to participate.
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