oh man. I feel for the American Christian this week. After the Supreme Court’s decisions on Roe v. Wade, Maine’s school funding, and a football coach’s right to pray on the field, how can they play as if they were no longer being persecuted by society?
Well, in their endless creativity (read: delusions) they will surely find a way. While we wait for the inevitable argument that it’s not the First Amendment that actually cases in the defense of American liberties, second, we look at what Kennedy v. Bremerton School District actually means.
Soccer coach Joseph Kennedy, a public school employee and therefore a state employee, made headlines this week after a lawsuit he filed against his school district made it to the Supreme Court. Kennedy alleged that the school wrongly terminated his contract after he refused to stop publicly leading its football team in prayer on the field after games at the request of the school district, which suggested moving the prayer to a more private place or waiting for the team to clear up.
That damn antichrist left! Following the so-called “Constitution” — more specifically the First Amendment’s founding clause — which prohibits the recitation of a prayer of any religion at public school events, including graduations and football games, both of which were ruled in previous SCOTUS rulings , a precedent was now destroyed by the ultra-conservative force majeure of this court.
The interesting thing about this majority decision is that it’s based on a lot of bullshit. The descriptions of Kennedy’s prayers in the pronunciation are inaccurate at best, as the coach is presented as praying quietly and alone on the field rather than leading the assembled group of students in very public prayer. Gorsuch wrote that the prayer was “not uttered as an address to the team,” a statement directly refuted by both verbal and photographic evidence. If Kennedy’s prayer was, in fact, a quiet, individual matter, the SCOTUS ruling may not have had the meaning it had in the public forum, but since the prayer was public and, in some cases, compelling, the imprecise portrayal of the situation on the field has reopened a door that was once closed between church and state.
Even Brett Kavanaugh early Kennedy’s lawyers: ‘What about the player who thinks, if I don’t play in this, I don’t start next week? Or the player who thinks, if I participate in this, I shall start next week? Because every player tries to get on the right side of the coach. And every parent is concerned about the coach being favoritism regarding starting lineup, playing time, college recommendations, etc.”
And yet the Court reached a 6-3 ruling in favor of: a high school soccer coach who refused to simply pray in the locker room as a state employee at work (and, bIncidentally, SCOTUS ruled in 2006 that government employees do not have freedom of expression when performing their official duties). Strangely enough, kneeling on the field is accepted in this case. Perhaps Colin Kaepernick should have said he was “praying” against police brutality rather than protesting against it — since public prayer is now apparently better protected than that good old First Amendment right to public protest.