Football coach put on leave for on-field praying

Thou shalt not pray at high school football games, at least if you’re a coach.

Bremerton School District officials in Washington state say assistant football coach Joe Kennedy has been placed on administrative leave because he refused to comply with an order to refrain from engaging in overt, public religious displays on the football field.

He’s been praying on field since 2008, according to CBS News. Sometimes students would join in.

He insists he’s not leading anyone in prayer; he’s simply kneeling down on the field after a game by himself to pray.

In a four-and-a-half page letter, school district superintendent Aaron Leavell conceded Kennedy isn’t “leading” a prayer, but said that’s not the standard the U.S. Supreme Court set when it rejected school-sponsored prayer in school

“All we’re asking for at this point is his ability to pray by himself, silently, and they’re still fighting against that,” Hiram Sasser, deputy chief counsel of Liberty Institute, tells KOMO TV. “I don’t know why they’re so hostile to even just a silent prayer.”

Yesterday a group of satanists said they’ll attend tonight’s football game to join a protest against praying.

“We’d like to take advantage of that same liberty and that same open forum to make sure a plurality of religious voice is represented,” local chapter leader Lilith Starr told KOMO.

Lilith Starr, chapter head of The Satanic Temple of Seattle, says her group of self-described Satanists will attend the school’s football game Thursday to protest a decision by a Christian coach to continue praying at the 50-yard line after games. Elaine Thompson | AP