Supreme Court wrestles with religious freedom – again

April 25th, 2022 by Ken

The United States Supreme Court is just about to rule on the most significant religious freedom suit in recent memory, and it has a local appeal.

Bremerton High School football coach Joe Kennedy, had been praying after each football game on the 50 yard line thanking God for the game – win or lose.  He started out alone and was eventually joined by a couple of players and soon every player joined the prayer group.

Despite being told by the school district to stop such activity he continued and was suspended and eventually fired.

The Court heard the case this week.

The question of course is complex.  The first amendment of the United States Constitution says (in part) “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”.

The Court has wrestled with this issue in the past.  I’m no legal scholar and I can’t cite all of the rulings, but basically, as far as I can tell, the Court has said that government facilities cannot be used for religious purposes.  The question becomes, does a football coach praying alone after a game on the 50-yard line of a public school  violate separation of church and state.  Further, does the fact that some students joined  voluntarily in prayer with him -which put pressure on all team members to join – in the interest of team unity – void the private prayer.

I doubt that whatever the outcome, not  every one will be satisfied.  But, it is interesting to see whether a country, with a great history of religious freedom and private activities, can keep that separation going.

France couldn’t.  The French Revolution resulted in a ban on all public displays of religion, among other restrictions.

The US Court has to decide, once again, where the line lies.

Posted in Government, History, The Real News

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