Saying he has an “agreement with God,” a defiant high school football coach said he’ll continue leading team prayers on the 50-yard line after being ordered to stop.
Even if it means he is fired.
For nine years, Joseph Kennedy, head coach at Bremerton High School in Washington state, has been holding post-game prayers, but was told by the school district last month that he must stop because his actions violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
Kennedy, a self-described God-fearing former Marine, spoke to “Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy on Thursday and said he will hold a prayer following his team’s home game this week.
“I kind of made an agreement with my personal faith and with God that this was something that I was going to do, and I was going to give Him the glory after every single game, and do it on the 50,” Kennedy said. “I’m kind of a guy of my word, and I’m just going to go through with what I’ve always done.”
Kennedy had previously agreed to stop pre-game prayers in the team locker room because it created a “captive audience,” but said players have a choice on joining him on the 50-yard line after games.
The coach told the Seattle Times he is “helping these kids be better people,” although he admits that he is not a lawyer.
“I don’t know the Constitution,” Kennedy told the newspaper. “However, I spent my years defending it.”
As for running the risk of being fired, Kennedy told Doocy he will leave it in God’s hands.
“I really don’t believe I’ll be fired for what I’m going to do,” he said. “You know, I have a higher power that I answer to.”
Kennedy is being represented by Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser, who insists his client is within his rights.
“The coach has a right as a citizen to be able to go out there and personally pray, and he doesn’t have a duty to flee the scene if other kids happen to come along,” Sasser said.
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