The Supreme Court sided with ex-Bremerton high school Coach Joe Kennedy in a case decided Monday. (First Liberty Institute)
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The Washington Post editorial board accused the U.S. Supreme Court of eroding the wall between church and state because it sided with ex-Bremerton High School football assistant coach Joseph Kennedy, who was fired for saying post-game prayers on public school grounds.
The Post’s opinion piece opened with their assessment of just how the conservative majority Supreme Court is “redefining constitutional order.”
The paper argued that the court’s recent rulings are “dismissive of Americans’ privacy rights, committed to dangerous pro-gun dogmas and, as the court showed twice this month, alarmingly permissive of mixing religion and government.”
The court taking Kennedy’s side in a case on Monday, is the “latest example” of “redefining constitutional order,” according to the Post. It explained, “The latest example comes in the case of Joseph Kennedy, a high school football assistant coach in Washington state who led prayers on the 50-yard line after games. As they got increasingly ostentatious, the school district asked him to stop.”
According to the paper, Coach Kennedy “toned down his prayers, but refused to stop using his privileged access to the 50-yard line to engage in public religious displays in the middle of an official school event while wearing team attire.”
The Post argued that, because the Supreme Court’s “six conservatives sided with the coach” rather than the school, “the justices practically encouraged school officials to engage in showy displays of religious practice on school grounds.”
The editorial board insisted that the court reached its decision “only by ignoring massive parts of the factual record.” Where the conservative justices said the coach’s prayers were “quiet” and done during a “brief lull” in his coaching duties, the paper claimed, “In fact, he was on the clock, supposed to be supervising students after games.”
The piece continued: “Until the final few games of the season, after the district had threatened to discipline him, Mr. Kennedy’s prayers were not personal, as the coach invited students and even opposing teams to join him. They were not limited to the field or the post-game ‘lull’; he led prayers in the locker room.”
The Post argued “his acts were not quiet” and that he “he gave religious-themed speeches as players knelt around him” when he should have been “supervising students in the locker room.”
The Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
However, the board asserted that the court “deemed these facts irrelevant, saying the school punished Mr. Kennedy only for his conduct after the season’s final three games, following which he made no lengthy public speeches and did not lead prayers in the locker room.”
Coach Kennedy “just silently prayed on the 50-yard line as others joined him” it wrote, adding that he was able to “stage his religious display on restricted public property only because he was a school employee working during an official activity core to his employment."
The board then slammed the court’s conservatives one last time, writing, "It is obvious the justices did not put themselves in the shoes of a Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or agnostic student watching from the literal and social sidelines, facing the decision of whether to join a coach on the field or stay true to their religious or nonreligious convictions.”
Though, as Kennedy maintained in a recent Fox News interview, students of other faiths choosing to, or not to participate, “was never a big deal.” He stated, “If anybody had a problem with anything, we are so close that’s all we did was talk about things. And we respect each other.”
“You know that whole stuff about diversity and being inclusive? Well that applies to everybody. People of faith, people of no faith, different faiths, it doesn’t matter,” Kennedy added. He insisted that if players did not want to pray, they did not have to participate.
The Washington Post editorial board claimed that the Supreme Court siding with high school football coach Joe Kennedy against the school that fired him for praying during games, is violating the separation between church and state. (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo)
Gabriel Hays is an associate editor at Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @gabrieljhays.