Bremerton High School in Washington State ordered football Coach Joe Kennedy to stop his seven-year practice of having a brief moment of silent prayer on the field after every game.

On October 28, 2015, the school district suspended Coach Kennedy over his quiet, 30-second prayer, stripping Coach Kennedy’s of his right to free religious expression—a right protected by the First Amendment, federal law, and extensive case law precedent.

He was ultimately fired. First Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit against the school district in August 2016. Oral arguments occurred June 12, 2017 before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. On August 23, the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling against Coach Kennedy. 

First Liberty is appealing the decision.

Letter of Support for Coach Joe Kennedy

To: Coach Joe Kennedy

From: Concerned Americans

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Thank you for your dedication to your faith, for your commitment to the positive education of our youth, for your military service, and for your courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and your lawsuit! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.