The football coach in Washington under attack for praying after games has not only a legal team but also a couple of prominent pro-family groups on the bench with him.
It's been his practice for years. Coach Joe Kennedy of Bremerton (WA) High School didn't require anyone to pray with him, but his school board said if he prayed while on duty as a coach he would be violating federal law. Kennedy's attorney appeared Monday afternoon on "Washington Watch" with host Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council.
"Just as he'd done for the last seven or eight years, Coach Kennedy walked out there quietly [after the game was over] ... to the 50-yard-line – and he knelt and he prayed by himself," explained Liberty Institute senior counsel Michael Berry. "[When] he was done and he looked up, he noticed he was surrounded, not necessarily by his own players but by players and coaches from the opposing team."
As of Monday afternoon, the school district had not yet taken action.
Liberty Institute hopes to meet this week with the attorneys for the school district.
"... We're hopeful of being able to open up a dialogue with [them] and hopefully have a meeting sometime this week so that we can figure out what differences we may have and iron those out and come to a resolution that will enable Coach Kennedy to continue his post-game prayers," said Berry.
Perkins said Kennedy's situation is the kind of stuff that movies are made of.
"... We see this time and time again, that people are just looking for a leader – and when one person stands, others stand with him," remarked the FRC president. "And here we see this with the other team that came to mid-field to pray with him."
In an Action Alert to its supporters earlier today, the American Family Association argues the school district is misapplying the Establishment Clause and is attempting to strip Coach Kennedy of a "right protected by the First Amendment and extensive case law precedent."
That notice continues: "[Kennedy] neither requests, encourages, nor discourages students from participating in his personal prayers, or coming to where he prays. His prayers neither proselytize nor denigrate the beliefs of others. And he has never received a complaint about his post-game personal prayers."
AFA also encourages its supporters to email the district superintendent and urge the district to support Kennedy's constitutional right to private religious expression.
Liberty Institute's "Joe Kennedy" page