The Point: Don’t You Dare Pray

Joe Kennedy was the football coach at a Washington State high school. For seven years after games he would kneel and pray quietly at midfield without any incident. Sometimes alone, sometimes with others.

I say “was” the football coach, because, when someone complimented the coach for praying, the school district ordered him to cease and desist. He refused; he was suspended, and eventually his contract was not renewed.

Of course, you can guess what happened when his case ended up at the notoriously liberal 9th Circuit.

In an online op-ed, Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly recently wrote, “We cannot simply ignore the assertion in our Declaration of Independence that God has given us inalienable rights like the freedoms of speech and religion—and it is the duty of government to ‘secure’ those rights.”

With all the bad influences in sports, do we really want to remove the good ones like Joe Kennedy? Daly went on to tell CBN News, “Enough is enough. Are we going to be in a country where we have these freedoms, or are we not?”

I think that’s a great question.

 


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  • Zarm

    On what basis did the school claim a right to require a cease and decist? Was he considered ‘on the clock’? Because it was school property?

    As outrageous as this is, I assume there was some actual legal grounding to their demand (whether flimsy or not) that the 9th Circuit upheld?

    • Juliette

      They said he was still representing them (so yes, paid employee on school field – AFTER a game.)
      Confusion, why is that threatening to any student? No force, not even with a mic. Just his own silent prayer.
      The NFL can pray as a team on a field. (Both teams together before a game)

      This mom feels better knowing my son is having a strong in character man coaching him. (Mr. Kennedy is a former Marine)
      We should have the freedom to say anything as long it is not threatening anyone. Tax payers, patriots, whomever has any sense we need to speak out.
      Our youth need to see committed and not wimpy American adults/parents.

      • Phoenix1977

        Well, open prayer can be threatening towards LGBT students, for one.
        Students who are afraid of being benched by the coach if not joining him in prayer might feel threatened.
        People from other religions might feel threatened.
        Just to name a few.

        • Nancy

          If he is not compelling any to do as himself, there should be no fear of being ‘benched’ and if any do fear that they should talk to the teacher to get confirmation.
          How is his praying ‘threatening’?

          • Phoenix1977

            Who said fear was rational? The uncertainty itself, whether or not the coach would act that way, is enough to make students feel threatened. After all, quite a few students need high school football to get scholarships for college football to be able to get a higher education. So these students cannot take the risk the coach benching them and joining him in prayer might be the best way to remain in the coach’s best graces.
            And besides, would former coach Kennedy admit it if he did pressure his students into joining him? Even before religion in public education was frowned upon that would have been a big no-no. Let alone in today’s society.

          • Nancy

            Well, my point is that I wonder if he was so unapproachable that a student couldn’t talk to him about their concerns.

          • Phoenix1977

            Addressing those concerns could have already put the players at odds with the man who decides whether they play or not. So yes, he would be that unapproachable, at least in the minds of his students.

          • Juliette

            No student ever even showed any concern or worry.
            They know Coach Kennedy is very approachable. The team has stood behind him all the way! It was an onlooker –plant that pressed this issue.
            Not a Knight parent, & NOT EVER a player.
            You are being irrational Phoenix. Threatened? -nope, not hardly. College scouts know these players (Bremerton). Stop reaching — your excuses are lame.
            Why do you dislike a Holy God?? We hear all day about praying for those affected by Irma and the horrendous shooting in a school in E. WA. But, GOD FORBID we offer a praise after a school event.
            See the lunacy? America is where she is because of the disrespectful, prideful individuals who don’t desire to surrender and serve much less acknowledge a reliance on a higher Source.
            We are not helping our young people become compassionate or show them how to respect or honor our Creator. (Maker, Almighty.)
            We are reaping what we have sowed.
            PEACE out.

          • Phoenix1977

            “No student ever even showed any concern or worry.”
            I already answered that one.

            “Threatened? -nope, not hardly. ”
            It’s not up to you to decide who has the right to feel threatened, let alone to tell others whether they felt threatened or not.

            “Why do you dislike a Holy God??”
            Because there is no such thing.

            “We hear all day about praying for those affected by Irma and the horrendous shooting in a school in E. WA.”
            You should have prayed to your god to prevent those events instead of offering prayers after the fact. If your god was actually so good and powerful he should have stopped those events. Unless he can’t, doesn’t want to or you are simply praying to nothing, of course.

            “We are reaping what we have sowed.”
            That I agree with. You have sown a lot of hatred and distrust and are in for quite the harvest.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Phoenix, you’re making an awful lot of assumptions. As you keep speculating that the students were afraid, it seems to me that the burden of proof is on you to show that they actually were.

          • Phoenix1977

            Actually, the burden of proof is with coach Kennedy. He knowingly violated the rules he was familiar with so it’s up to him to proof the rules either didn’t apply to him or that he had a sound reason for his violation. Apparently, the school board had good reasons to issue these restrictions and if coach Kennedy thought he couldn’t live with those restrictions he could have chosen not to take a job in that school district.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            I’m talking specifically about the fear you keep suggesting these students felt, despite the fact that you don’t know them and have never heard one word from any of them to that effect. Until you do, I’m requesting that you stop putting words in their mouths, at least when you’re on this site.

          • Phoenix1977

            But I do know how students can feel threatened by open prayer, Gina, especially LGBT students. I once was one, remember? I experienced it first hand.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            That was you. This is an entirely different group of young people, none of whom you have heard from, and for whom you have no right to speak. Two days ago, you wrote, “It’s not up to you to decide who has the right to feel threatened, let alone to tell others whether they felt threatened or not.” The same applies to you. So take your own advice, and stop it.

          • Juliette

            Feeling threatened because of a prayer???
            So maybe there is an inner part of your conscience. Your SOUL telling you that what you are participating in is not honorable and perhaps you should not be placing your self under. It is a behaviour. And, you can stop.
            You are in bondage and you need freedom.
            I miss when men did not need to be controlled by Barry Manilow feelings.

          • Juliette

            Nah, no hatred.
            Sometimes the truth may appear “mean” when you refuse to submit to it.

            .
            There is a (Holy) God and you are not Him.

        • Juliette

          We are not catering to “feelings” Time to be men.~
          Coach Kennedy is an excellent wise and considerate role model.
          He constantly had the best interest of all his players — on & off the field.

          • Phoenix1977

            And now he will be off the field indefinitely. If his prayers were that important to him he should be okay with those consequences.

        • Matthew V. Brown

          As long as no other person is suffering discrimination, then people who are “threatened” by an individual praying need to get over themselves. I am offended by all of the snowflakes whose hobby seems to be being offended!

          • Phoenix1977

            We don’t need to get over ourselves at all. Coach Kennedy was informed he was not allowed to pray during school functions on school grounds while representing the school in any way. He did that anyway and was presented with the consequences of his choices. If there is anyone who should get over himself, it’s coach Kennedy. Sorry, I mean FORMER coach Kennedy.

      • Zarm

        So there is a new law I missed that one is not allowed to pray at work? I’m not quite seeing where the perceived right to require him not to pray even if he was ‘representing’ them after everyone had left comes in…

        • Juliette

          Sorry Phoenix–not buying it.
          Don’t think anyone with any grit or solid convictions would “feel” threatened by a silent worshipful prayer. It is not insensitive to express yourself as your conscience is firm & tells you to give PRAISE and show gratitude to the One who you serve and submit to.
          High school men especially ones who excel in physical sports are more confident and as anyone on the team can tell you, they trust Mr. Kennedy to be a man of integrity treating them all as equal.
          In the world we don’t cower and our culture has to get over their entitled to a “feeling” a pity for themselves.
          “I need to be elevated and esteemed because I feel insecure and unimportant.”
          Coach Kennedy had an excellent rapport with his students. They respect one another. No more excuses, be solid in your self!
          I have and am the process of raising wonderful men! (seven of them.)

          • Zarm

            Seven! Yikes! Good on you, Juliette- the toddlerhood of just two is almost more than my wife and I can handle! 🙂

  • Phoenix1977

    “With all the bad influences in sports, do we really want to remove the good ones like Joe Kennedy?”
    A good one? A former marine deliberately refusing a direct order? As a former military man Joe Kennedy should have known disobeying a direct order would have consequences. A good man would face those consequences.

    • Matthew V. Brown

      This post doesn’t say that Joe Kennedy was unwilling to face the consequences of his decision. Focus on the Family’s Jim Daly argued that this decision should not have had to be made. Freedom of religion should extend to the playing field. As long as Joe Kennedy was not forcing anyone to pray with him, his behavior should not be persecuted. It should be applauded!

      • Phoenix1977

        As I said below, who says he didn’t force others to join him? Or hinted not joining him would have consequences for the students? Or not even hinted but the students might have thought it would.
        It’s quite simple: teachers (which includes coaches) are prohibited from initiating prayers on school grounds, during school events (or school hours), while representing the school.
        But let me ask you a different question. Would you have supported this man as well if he had unrolled his prayer rug and said thanks to Allah on the 50 yards line? Or started burning incense to Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna?