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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

High School Coach Fired for Faith is Fighting to Regain Job

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Aug 10
  • Comments

A Christian high school football coach who was fired for praying is filing a lawsuit to get his job back.

Todd Starnes of Fox News reports that Joe Kennedy is a former Marine Corps sergeant who coached football at Bremerton High School in Washington. Kennedy was beloved by his players and was always given stellar reviews as a coach.

However, conflict arose when the school district took issue with Kennedy’s tradition of saying a brief prayer  on the 50-yeard line at the end of every game.

The district told him that such a religious display was not allowed, despite the fact that Kennedy did not compel any students to join him and his prayers lasted only about 30 seconds each game. In addition, the school district did not take action against a Buddhist coach who engaged in Buddhist chants at football games.

Coach Kennedy decided that he had to stand up for his religious beliefs, so he defied the district’s mandate, and was eventually forced to resign.

“I wouldn’t do anything differently,” he said. “I’ve always taught my guys to stand up for what they believe in – even if it’s not popular.”

In his lawsuit, Kennedy is not asking for any money, but simply to be reinstated as coach of Bremerton High School, a job he deeply loves.

“All we really want for him – is to be back on the sideline coaching those kids – and nothing more,” said Kennedy’s attorney, Michael Berry, of First Liberty Institute.


Publication date: August 10, 2016