A former high school football coach from Washington state who lost his job for praying with players found an ally in Donald Trump.
“I thought it was horrible,” the Republican presidential nominee said Monday about the case of Joe Kennedy being fired for privately praying after games. Trump was speaking in Virginia at the Retired American Warriors PAC when he was told Kennedy was in the audience, Fox News reported.
Trump asked Kennedy to stand up and explain what had happened leading to the loss of his job in January.
Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine Corps gunnery sergeant, kneeled at the 50-yard line and said a prayer after each Bremerton High School game, he said. He was suspended and received a poor performance review from the district after he did not stop the prayers when they told him to a year ago.
Kennedy filed a federal lawsuit after the school district chose not to renew his contract a few months later.
“Wow. They really went after you, for saying a prayer before the – that is just – I didn’t know you’d be here,” Trump said. “The world is changing, isn’t it? So you’re not allowed to pray before a football game. I thought it was horrible. I thought it was horrible.”
Trump slammed the lack of respect by governments for “religious liberty.”
“I think it’s very, very sad and outrageous,” he told Kennedy, adding that schools should be protecting freedom of religious expression and, at the same time, making sure students are not forced to participate.
“It’s about religious liberty,” Trump said. “We’re living in a time where you have to have a melding of both. But it’s very unfair what they’re doing to religion in this country.”
Kennedy also appeared on Fox News “The Kelly File” to discuss the events leading up to his lawsuit.
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Video clip from Fox News.