It has all the makings of a great story: A praying football coach, God, angry school officials and a group of Satanists.
This latest prayers-on-school-property drama takes place across Puget Sound from Seattle in Bremerton, a city of about 40,000 known for its shipyard and U.S naval base. Since 2008, the assistant varsity football coach at the local high school has prayed at the 50 yard line after each game. In time, this became a tradition.
Until the school district decided his actions could lead to a lawsuit. Here’s how the Seattle Timesdescribed it:
In a four-page statement Wednesday that appeared to have been written by lawyers, the Bremerton School District said it was placing an assistant football coach on paid administrative leave over a prayer controversy that’s gone nationwide.
Joe Kennedy, the assistant coach, had refused to comply with district orders to stop praying on the field after games. The district said it was bound by “lawful and constitutionally-required directives” about public religious displays.
The district said that Kennedy would remain employed by the district for the term of his contract as the junior varsity coach and assistant varsity coach. But Kennedy would not be allowed to participate “in any capacity” in the football program unless he agreed to comply with district directives.
When contacted for comment, Kennedy had Mike Berry, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas, answer on his behalf. The group says its mission is “defending and preserving religious liberty in America.”… The case has drawn attention from around the country. On Tuesday, 47 members of Congress sent a letter of support for the coach to the district.
Read more at GetReligion.org…
After reading the full story, get a deeper look at the Satanic Temple with Al: