While overly zealous Christians in America are happy that the case of forner coach Joe Kennedy who was let go from the Bremerton, Wash. school district for a prayer on the 50-yard-line that turned very public, they may have made it harder for their cause.
Come the first of August, many football programs will begin training for the fall season. And every school district in America will be under a microscope from now on. As if things weren’t already so bad with parents upset over what their students are being taught and even screaming at teachers and administrators for the past two years over mask mandates, educators are really going to be harder pressed. While small-town lawyers may look away because they don’t want to mess with their bread and butter, big city attorneys will be watching.
This will also empower more parents to keep a watch on what the educators are doing. In the past students might have just let things slide. If a coach or teacher mentioned “Jesus,” “God,” or even said, “blessed,” a student might tell their parents, a family member or an administrator. We are living in an era in which anyone can pull out a cell phone, record something and have it uploaded within a few minutes.
Growing up in the south, a lot of the football coaches prided themselves on being Christian people, which is ironic because pride is a sin. But just because they chose to follow a religion and then help out with a church in their off time doesn’t mean the rest of the team should follow. Peer pressure is an issue that many young people face. And with social media and students in a closed knit community, not really believing in Christianity can be detrimental to a student’s life.
And this is where the problems will rise. Say, an athlete is benched because they wanted to go get in the showers following a game rather than pray. While their coach didn’t dismiss them, they demanded they pray. Even keeping them on the field rather than going to the locker room is crossing a line they don’t want nor need to cross. Prayer should be voluntary and a coach can’t make a student participate even though some will try.
Coaches will lose some of their foolish tyrannical grips on players. You can’t force a player to pray, but by making them stay on the field, you are still subjecting them to it. And here is where the problems will arise. How will coaches argue that they didn’t subject the athletes to the prayer? They’ll have to stop prayer altogether and dismiss all athletes. They’re not winning. If one athlete after a game or practice wants to go to the locker room or talk with their friends or family, coaches will have to let them. Otherwise, they’ve forced athletes to partake in a religious event.
They’ve been doing this for years. Young people have been invited to pool parties only to find out that someone blesses them and it’s now a group baptism. It happened in the spring of 2018 in Encinitas, Calif. when a group of people who were invited to a pastor’s house found themselves be counted as baptized so the church could inflate its number. This is a crooked and corrupt way of forcing people into a religion.
But at the school level, the NCAA and every college in America will have to do more to make sure students weren’t discriminated against because of their lack of religious affiliation or refusal to participate in events. And being a newspaper person, I can tell you the parents who feel their kids aren’t getting enough attention will be vocal about it. And all it takes is a social media post.
Prayer should be the one things coaches and educators don’t encourage. I was covering a big championship game one time and it came down to the other team kicking a field goal. I glanced over and noticed some players praying for them to miss. They were praying for someone else’s misfortunes. A good coach would’ve told them to stop, but the issue is could they?
This isn’t really a post about Christian athletes, which I think we have enough of already. If you thank God or Jesus when you get a homer or score a touchdown, you should thank God when the players on the other team do too. And I’ve learned to never take a picture of an athlete praying because then everyone comes out of the woodworks wanting a copy to go along with their VHS copy of The Left Behind they used to keep in full view on or near the entertainment center.
What people haven’t really discussed about the Kennedy case was that he really wasn’t a good employee for the school district. From the time Kennedy began praying for 15-30 seconds alone in 2008 to the time his public prayer created a security issue in 2015, the Bremerton Knights only had one really good season. Most of the times, they only won one or two games a season. Kennedy was only an assistant coach but the fact that the team wasn’t winning should’ve been strike one.
Kennedy said he was inspired by that hokey movie Facing the Giants, which turned God into some magical genie who will make your life better with material possessions if you only pray. The movie was made by the Kendrick Brothers who have some radical ideas about what women and non-white peoples’ place in society should be. Their movies are awful and don’t just preach to the choir, they are the choir screaming in a hall of mirrors.
Now, Bremerton isn’t some rinky-dink town in BFE Washington State. They have over 41,000 in population. And many of the prayer sessions after the games evolved into very public events to the point administrators were worried that Kennedy’s involvement could infringe on the Establishment Clause. As a public school employee, Kennedy is a representative of the school district. (Remember this for a little bit later.) The school board was okay with a prayer session following a game, but they just wanted it to be led by students.
But that wasn’t the case as this picture shows:
Still an employee of the school district, Kennedy went on a public media tour even appearing on ABC’s Good Morning America all the time saying that the school district was violating his right to prayer. The problem with this is Kennedy brought more attention on the school district in hopes of them relenting. But as an employee, he was actually putting more of the school district in danger. This was strike two.
Following the GMA interview, Kennedy knelt down to pray and eyewitnesses said it was a “stampede” of people going toward the 50-yard-line with members of the school’s marching band being knocked over. This could’ve resulted in serious injury. Kennedy’s actions were reckless. There was nothing “quiet” about his prayers. It was strike three. The district had no other action to do but to terminate him. Kennedy did it to himself. He has no one else to blame but himself.
Like most Christians, Kennedy wanted the attention it gave him. The football team isn’t doing well. He’s just an assistant. Her wanted the attention. He craved it. If someone had been severely injured or died during that prayer incident, the school would’ve face severe repurcussions and so would Kennedy since he violated the law. I wouldn’t be surprised if some lawsuits will arise now from people who were hurt during the 2015 incident.
Theres’s no other way to describe Kennedy but as selfish. He lost his job and he had to make a big deal about it. The reason many lower courts rejected it because they knew the problems it would create. So, now, Kennedy will forever be remember as a legal precedent we didn’t need. The Kennedy v. Bremerton School District will lay the framework for future lawsuits. All it’s going to take is one student who feels they were targeted for not praying.
According to his opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch says ruling overturns Lemon v. Kurtzman, but it just makes it more problematic. We’ll have to wonder if a Muslim teacher will be treated the same. Or how about a teacher is a member of the Church of Scientology and they openly crticize a student who has to see a pscyhiatrist. Educators are already getting fed up with the strangelehold on them.
Also, the students will be a lot smarter than we’ll give them credit. Legally, a student doesn’t have to say the Pledge of Allegiance since the phrase, “under God” is in it. That alone is establishing religion. Even asking them to stand or even be in the same room can be considered exposure to religion. So, you either do away with the Pledge or you subject people to it?
Now, if the students want to organize a time before school starts to say the Pledge, then that’s acceptable. Maybe some religious figures know that students will lose interest. See You At The Pole is one week because if it was two, people would stop showing up. I dare a student organization out there to start on day one of the 2022-2023 year to pray around the flagpole and see how long it goes. It will end by Labor Day Weekend.
Some people need attention and crave it like heroin. Social media has created more so-called Christians but in actuality, they just want the attention. They’ll claim the Bible is their favorite book but not even read more than two pages. People are only Christians when they find a way it can serve them better. And that’s what Kennedy did.
Matthew 6:7 goes as follows: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”
The problem is most “Christians” want to see their praying being done by others. Because if they don’t, what’s the point? I mean, spiritual enlightenment and feeling better about yourself should be the only reward. So, I hope Kennedy is happy for his rewards. He’s now one of the most hated persons in America along with the other six Supreme Court justices. But people like Kennedy will only claims persecution.
In the end, the ruling will continue to push more people away from religious affiliation as well as Christianity. Hopefully, we’ll have a ruling that will overturn Kennedy v. Bremerton very soon.
What do you think? Please comment.