AP

Supreme Court sides with coach who sought to pray after game

Jun 27, 2022, 8:18 AM | Updated: 4:00 pm
praying football coach...
FILE - Bremerton assistant football coach Joe Kennedy, obscured at center in blue, is surrounded by Centralia High School football players as they kneel and pray with him on the field after their game against Bremerton on Oct. 16, 2015, in Bremerton, Wash. After losing his coaching job for refusing to stop kneeling in prayer with players and spectators on the field immediately after football games, Kennedy will take his arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, April 25, 2022, saying the Bremerton School District violated his First Amendment rights by refusing to let him continue praying at midfield after games. (Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP, File)
(Meegan M. Reid/Kitsap Sun via AP, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a football coach from Washington state who sought to kneel and pray on the field after games.

The court ruled 6-3 along ideological lines for the coach. The justices said the coach’s prayer was protected by the First Amendment.

“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” wrote Justice Neil Gorsuch for the majority.

The case forced the justices to wrestle with how to balance the religious and free speech rights of teachers and coaches with the rights of students not to feel pressured into participating in religious practices. The outcome could strengthen the acceptability of some religious practices in the public school setting.

The decision is also the latest in a line of Supreme Court rulings for religious plaintiffs.

Related: S.B. 174 now in effect in Utah with Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade

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Supreme Court sides with coach who sought to pray after game