“But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.’” Acts 5:29
Joe Kennedy, Bremerton High School’s assistant football coach has been praying on the 50-yard-line after games since 2008. And for years, players and fans have voluntarily joined him. Recently, the school district instructed him to stop his post-game prayers as they felt it was violating federal law, but he kept praying.
Kennedy requested a religious accommodation, but was denied. Now, he has been placed on paid administration leave pending investigation by the District.
“Effective immediately, pending further District review of your conduct, you are placed on paid administrative leave from your position as an assistant coach with the Bremerton High School football program,” the superintendent wrote. “You may not participate, in any capacity, in BHS football program activities.”
Kennedy refuses to bend to their requests and is prepared to sue under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, claiming that his rights have been violated. Kennedy wants to teach students values by praying and taking a stand. “I want to teach my kids those same values; that you have to take a stand for what is right, even if it might cost you,” Kennedy said. “So, I can’t not do this. I have to continue to be a role model, even if some think it’s unpopular.”
Benjamin Watson, tight end for the New Orleans Saints, recently voiced a concern on Social Media many might agree with. After the tragic attack in Paris, #PrayforParis was trending world-wide as the number one hashtag over the weekend as people poured their love, thoughts, and prayers out for Paris. This is good, for sure, but Watson pointed out the underlying irony in a recent tweet: “We Pray for Paris, Yet We Suspend a Coach for Prayer?“ Watson is referring to the previously menhtioned high school football coach Joe Kennedy who was suspended for praying after games.
Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and terminal illness apparently all warrant unified public prayer. But somehow pointing to God after a touchdown or praying with your team warrants a swift kick out of the game, or out of a job.
If we truly believe that our God is mighty enough to save the tragedy of Paris, how much more should he be the object of praise for every good thing and the source of prayer for every need—not just the ones we think we can’t handle… *Watson’s comment was shared 1,700 times on Twitter and over 45,000 times on Facebook.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10