Supreme Court to hear case of Christian football coach fired for post-game prayers on field
· Jan 16, 2022 ·

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday it will hear the case of Seattle-area high school football coach Joe Kennedy who was fired by the Bremerton School District for regularly praying at midfield after games.

"Six years away from the football field has been far too long," Kennedy said. "I am extremely grateful that the Supreme Court is going to hear my case and pray that I will soon be able to be back on the field coaching the game and players I love."

Kennedy sued the school district in 2016 after he was suspended in 2015, claiming violation of his religious freedom. The Ninth Circuit Court of appeals ruled against Kennedy in 2017 and again in March 2021.

"No teacher or coach should lose their job for simply expressing their faith while in public," said Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of First Liberty, a law firm which is helping to represent Kennedy. "By taking this important case, the Supreme Court can protect the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of punishment."

In 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Kennedy, but "allowed the lower courts to continue to develop the factual record," Christian Post reports.

"At that time, four justices (Justice Alito joined by Justices Thomas, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh) attached a statement signaling that the court would be open to hearing the case at a future time, saying in part, ‘The Ninth Circuit's understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future,'" First Liberty said.

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