Here we go again.
Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for “exercising her religion” on the job, has a new soul mate in the person of Joe Kennedy, the Bremerton High School football coach recently suspended for “exercising his religion” out on the 50 yard line after games.
These poor pitiful self styled martyrs just can’t understand why the First Amendment Establishment Clause should prohibit them from promoting their own private religious beliefs in their capacity as government agents.
Kim Davis thought she had a perfect right to deny marriage licenses to gays because it’s against her religion. She was willing to go to jail for it. Joe Kennedy thinks he has a perfect right as a high school football coach to lead his students and players in Christian prayers out on the middle of the 50 yard line after games because it’s his religion. He’s apparently willing to lose his job over it.
Well, he should lose his job over it. He’s no martyr. He’s a scofflaw. Just like with Kim Davis, he’s deliberately violating the law while trying to justify it by claiming he has the right to exercise his religious beliefs as part of his job duties.
Kennedy is not satisfied to simply exercise his religious beliefs as is his constitutional right. Clearly, he can pray to his God any time he likes, even on the job, as long as he discretely keeps it to himself. But this guy wants to make a public spectacle of his religious beliefs while he’s on the job. He wants to draw attention to himself.
That’s why he goes out to the middle of the 50 yard line to kneel down in prayer for all to see. He wants everyone at the game to know exactly what he’s doing. He wants others to join him in his religious exercise. He wants the players and the students to be part of it right out there in the middle of the field.
Suppose an atheist coach wanted to wear a t-shirt at every game proclaiming that: “God is imaginary.” How far do you think he would get with that?
When the school district superintendent told him he’s not allowed to conduct himself in that manner in his capacity as coach at football games: “You violated those directives by engaging in overt, public and demonstrative religious conduct while still on duty as an assistant coach,” he simply ignored his boss and went right on doing it. So the district suspended Kennedy.
His response is to hire lawyers to sue for alleged hostility towards his Christianity. The public school is hostile toward his religion because it won’t let him proselytize it while on the job, he reasons. You see, he fancies himself a martyr, and feels a compelling need to draw attention to himself, just like Kim Davis did.
That’s why he showed up as a spectator at the very next football game so that he could make a spectacle of himself once again by praying with the crowd in the stands. Of course, that’s exactly what he should have been doing all along as a private citizen, instead of exposing his school to legal liability for endorsing religion in violation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause.
"While the district appreciates Kennedy’s many positive contributions to the [Bremerton] football program, Kennedy’s conduct poses a genuine risk that the district will be liable for violating the federal and state constitutional rights of students or others," reads a statement on the district’s web site.
"I’m willing to take this as far as it goes to defend the rights of the Constitution to the end," a defiant coach Kennedy says. "If you believe in something, you stand up."
So there you have it: Martyrdom at Bremerton High