Religious liberty champion returns to coaching

Religious liberty champion returns to coaching

Religious liberty champion returns to coaching

After an eight-year-long battle, a high school football coach is back to work at the same high school that failed to recognize his constitutional right to pray in public.

Football Coach Joe Kennedy took a knee in silent prayer eight years ago and was fired by Bremerton High School in Washington for doing so. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled last year that Kennedy should not have been fired.

"After a long period of some pretty deep conversations with the school district, they have begun to understand that ruling," relays Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Institute, the Christian conservative legal organization that represented the coach.

Dys, Jeremy (First Liberty Institute) Dys

"Coach Kennedy has been welcomed back to Bremerton High School, where he is now officially a football coach again," the attorney continues. "To wrap everything up, they've also approved a settlement to pay Coach Kennedy's attorneys as well."

So after stirring up about eight years' worth of work, Bremerton High School will be paying Coach Kennedy's attorneys $1.7 million, which, as Dys points out, could have been easily avoided had the school simply recognized Coach Kennedy's right to do what the First Amendment allows him to do.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has been in place for around 200 years, and it is First Liberty's hope that federal, state, and local officials would understand the importance of religious liberty. But even with this ruling and others like it, Dys says someone somewhere will likely violate another person's First Amendment rights.

His organization is "happy" to defend religious liberty and is pleased to see that the Supreme Court is still "committed to making sure that the First Amendment means what the founders said it meant 200+ years ago."