High School Football Coach Defies Order to Halt Postgame Prayers

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The Liberty Institute issued a letter to the school district asking them to revoke their prohibition on postgame prayer in time for the Knights' October 16 homecoming game. The organization has also pledged to represent Coach Kennedy should legal action prove necessary.

For his part, all Kennedy can talk about is how much he cares for his players.

"I love my players. It's an honor to work with them and teach them about good sportsmanship and teamwork. I hope the school district will allow me to continue working with these kids -- and thanking God for them," Kennedy said in a written statement released by the Liberty Institute.

So what's all the fuss about? Coach Kennedy -- who clearly loves his team and wants the best for each guy on that team -- simply offers prayers of thanks at the end of every game. He's not passing out tracts, leading altar calls, or preaching hellfire and brimstone. What parents wouldn't appreciate an expression of thanks for their son?

The coach is doing no harm to anyone in or around the stadium, and he's well within his First Amendment rights, as the folks at Liberty Institute have proven. The case in Bremerton brings to mind the recent attacks on college football coaches who don't hide their light under a bushel, as the busybodies at the Freedom From Religion Foundation would have them do.

Take a look at the Facebook page that Liberty Institute has set up in support of Coach Kennedy, and you'll see the militant unfaithful out in full force. To read some of the comments, one would think that Kennedy was a delusional menace to society rather than a caring practitioner of the world's largest faith, one which has remained strong for thousands of years.

I've heard it said that non-believers don't go after Santa Claus, unicorns, Bigfoot, and the like because they're obviously not real, but that they go after the God of the Bible because the idea of His existence threatens their lack of faith and their reluctance to live by moral absolutes. And I think we see this notion at work in these attacks on coaches who care enough about their players to pray for them.

On Friday, Coach Kennedy defied the schools order to stop his postgame prayers. From the Seattle Times:

Surrounded by members of his team, players from the rival Centralia High School and scores of supporters from Kitsap County and beyond, Bremerton High assistant coach Joe Kennedy knelt on the 50-yard line after Friday night’s game and prayed.

It was some version of the basic prayer he’s said for years, he said afterward.

“Lord, I thank you for these kids and the blessing you’ve given me with them. We believe in the game, we believe in competition and we can come into it as rivals and leave as brothers.”

He said he never intended to become part of the controversy surrounding his postgame prayers, but had to stand up for his right to practice his faith when challenged by the school district.

“I always taught my kids to do what’s right … and fight for what you believe in.”

God bless Coach Joe Kennedy for standing up for his faith and showing Jesus' love to his players. God bless the Liberty Institute for helping him fight for the freedom to practice that faith. I hope and pray that other faithful believers will support the coach in these efforts to set a good example for the young men he leads.

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Images courtesy of Liberty Institute