The Coach involved in the Supreme Court's Prayer Ruling Sought to Coerce His Team into Participating
The Supreme Court on Monday sided with former public school football coach Joseph Kennedy who sought to kneel and pray on the field after games. They found that the school district was wrong to cut ties with the coach when he refused to stop leading prayer sessions on the field.
NPR: "Writing for the court majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the school relied exclusively and improperly on concerns that the prayers would be viewed as a religious endorsement by the school. Without evidence that students had been coerced, the majority said, barring coach Joseph Kennedy from praying on the 50-yard line at the end of each game was a form of hostility to religion, in violation of the Constitution."
Justice Gorsuch misses an obvious point that every coach in America would understand immediately; the coach sought to coerce his team into joining him by praying in such a public fashion. That was the coach's point. That's why he decided to do it on the fifty-yard line rather than praying silently in his car or at home after the game. He meant to "influence" his team's behavior; he was proselytizing. And, he was successful because high school coaches are viewed as mentors and have so much influence in athletes getting college scholarships. Gorsuch knows it, the other conservatives on the Court know it, and the school district knew it when they asked him to stop.
Before Trump's trio of right-wing Justices joined the Court, the real issue in the case would have been clear; is it permissible for a public school employee to pray publicly in such a way that a reasonable person would take it as endorsing religion with an expectation that students will join them. Based on decades of Supreme Court precedent, the answer would have been a resounding No!
By: Don Lam & Curated Content