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It’s back to the U.S. Supreme Court for former Washington state high school football coach Joe Kennedy, who was fired for refusing to stop leading players in volunteer, post-game prayer sessions.
Article by Bob Unruh from WND.
A three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the most overturned appellate division in the nation, ruled Thursday that Bremerton High School did not violate Kennedy’s First Amendment free-speech rights when it fired him.
Kennedy argues his prayers at the 50-yard line after games were not the same as being in front of a classroom. He contends he was speaking as a private citizen rather than a public employee, whose speech can be restricted by the school district.
The U.S. Supreme Court previously returned the case to the district court to address constitutional issues. At the time, the justices noted that the Ninth Circuit’s “understanding of the free speech rights of public school teachers is troubling and may justify review in the future.”
The Ninth Circuit’s decision, written by Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., said Kennedy’s “attempts to draw nationwide attention to his challenge to the District showed that he was not engaging in private prayer,” KCPQ-TV in Seattle reported.
“Instead, he was engaging in public speech of an overtly religious nature while performing his job duties,” Milan wrote.
“The District tried to accommodate Kennedy, but that was spurned by Kennedy insisting that he be allowed to pray immediately after the conclusion of each game, potentially surrounded by students. The panel held that the district court correctly granted summary judgment to the District on Kennedy’s free speech and free exercise claims.”
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However, Kennedy’s attorney, Mike Berry, insisted that banning coaches from praying “just because they can be seen is wrong and contradicts the Constitution.”
“Today’s opinion threatens the rights of millions of Americans who simply want to be able to freely exercise their faith without fear of losing their job,” said Berry, who serves as general counsel for First Liberty Institute.
He said he plans to appeal and hopes the Supreme Court “will right this wrong.”
“This fight is far from over,” Berry said.
On the previous trip to the Supreme Court, Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh said the court needed more information to resolve the dispute.
Kennedy has garnered support from political and religious leaders, including President Trump, Franklin Graham, Hall of Fame football coach Bobby Bowden, and former NFL players Steve Largent and Chad Hennings.
Let’s show our support for Coach Kennedy, a former Marine who didn’t back down on prayer. https://t.co/K8VlViouIN
— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) August 25, 2017
Students had voluntarily joined the coach in prayer a number of times, and he eventually adjusted his practice to pray at a time when they were occupied and could not join.
Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?
Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.
There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.
Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.
Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.
We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.
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Thank you, and God Bless!