Coach who was fired for praying on field will be reinstated


A Bremerton, Washington high school football coach who lost his job in 2015 for praying on the field, will be reinstated in his same position no later than March 15, 2023, according to a Western District of Washington judge.

In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 vote in Joseph Kennedy’s favor, saying his public prayer was protected by the U.S. Constitution. Kennedy has a habit of kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after games, and often some of his players join him on the field.

“But it’s not just a victory for one coach. The Court struck down a bad precedent, Lemon v. Kurtzman, and set a new one. For five decades, Lemon was a thorn in the side of religious freedom. The legal test it established caused many school officials to suppress any religious observances, leading them to violate the rights of teachers and students,” wrote the First Liberty Institute, which took on the case.

“Because of the Kennedy victory, that’s no longer the case. The Court makes clear that government cannot censor private expression simply because it is religious. This will have a nationwide impact on public-school teachers, employees and coaches, who can now freely live out their faith in public,” the legal nonprofit group wrote.

Read more about the First Liberty for Coach Joe Kennedy here.

The details are not final, but Judge Robert S. Lasnik announced Kennedy must be reinstated to his previous position as assistant coach of the Bremerton High School football team. The proposals for the wording of the final order for the case are due by Nov. 8.

“Bremerton School District shall not interfere with or prohibit Kennedy from offering a prayer consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion,” the attorneys wrote in the filing.

First Liberty Institute has also been awarded legal fees to be paid by the Bremerton School District.

This summer, some Alaskans may have met Kennedy, as he came Alaska with Franklin Graham and former Vice President Mike Pence to greet and pray with veterans at Samaritan’s Lodge on Lake Clark, where Samaritan’s Purse has a retreat program for military veterans and their spouses.


  1. It’s not a popular opinion, but I stand by it.

    There is a time and place for prayer. The 50 yard line isn’t it.

    The decision is correct, but the coach created an issue where one didn’t need to exist.

  2. I played ball. We had pregame prayer.
    But once we took the field it was time for football.

    If the coach needs to say thanks, he can do it in his office or on his feet.

    Part of leading young men is teaching them the fine art of time and place for everything.

    • So let’s put God in His box right? Until we need Him in our crisis! Sorry masked man but God is everywhere and He tells us in His Word to pray without ceasing.

    • I have to say I love it when someone witnesses in a post game interview. Anything that makes the media uncomfortable.

  3. I wonder how many people commending this decision would have been fine if the coach had led a post-game prayer directed at Zeus or Apollo, or better yet, Allah?

  4. How do you know he didn’t ? Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, right ? And just what are these federal courts ? They are an extension of Congress, now think, real hard. Ever heard of case LAW .

    • The courts are not an extension of Congress. they’re an entirely different branch of government. Not an unimportant distinction. We all know this case was about Christian prayer. As I stated, had it been a prayer to some other god, I doubt that conservatives would have been as supportive of the decision. The current makeup of the SCOTUS doesn’t seem too concerned with upholding the establishment clause. This was a public school, funded by public money and this coach is/was a public employee. A horrible decision.

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