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Can a highschool coach pray at 50-Yard line? 5 SCOTUS listening to takeaways — GetReligion

The case of Joseph Kennedy, a Bremerton, Washington, highschool soccer coach who desires to kneel and pray on the 50-yard line, made it to the U.S. Supreme Court this week.

Arguments took almost two hours, double the time scheduled. Listed here are 5 key takeaways:

1. The problem: “The case pits the rights of presidency employees to free speech and the free train of their religion towards the Structure’s prohibition of presidency endorsement of faith and Supreme Court docket precedents that forbid pressuring college students to take part in non secular actions,” the New York Times’ Adam Liptak explains.

2. The importance: It’s “certainly one of its most vital circumstances on prayer in many years … in a transparent take a look at for the way the court docket’s new conservative majority might rule on prayer in public colleges,” Newsweek’s Julia Duin reports.

Duin provides:

The case centered on whether or not a highschool coach may brazenly pray after the top of a soccer recreation. Arguments included examples from elsewhere within the sports activities world, with mentions of former Denver Broncos soccer participant Tim Tebow, recognized for kneeling on the sector in prayer, and Egyptian soccer participant Mohamed Salah, who kneels in a thanksgiving prayer to Allah after he scores a aim.

Learn Plug-in’s past coverage of Tebow’s controversial prayers. Additionally, see this Duin publish — “Coach Joe Kennedy goes to the Supreme Court and the media coverage gets a B+” — right here at GetReligion.

3. The hypotheticals: “The U.S. Supreme Court docket justices spun greater than a dozen hypothetical prayer eventualities throughout oral arguments,” Christianity Today’s Daniel Silliman notes.

The Related Press’ Jessica Gresko highlights some of those scenarios:

A coach who crosses himself earlier than a recreation. A instructor who reads the Bible aloud earlier than the bell rings. A coach who hosts an after-school Christian youth group in his house.

Supreme Court docket justices mentioned all these hypothetical eventualities.

See extra on the hypotheticals from the Deseret News’ Kelsey Dallas, whose advance coverage on what’s at stake I recommended last week.

4. The coercion query: “Joseph A. Kennedy’s lawyer mentioned the assistant coach was asking just for a non-public second to take a knee and specific gratitude to God on the gridiron after a recreation,” the Washington Post’s Robert Barnes points out. “However lawyer Paul D. Clement acknowledged that Kennedy’s actions at Bremerton Excessive College close to Seattle had at occasions gone far past that, together with main gamers and others in prayer.

5. The precedents: USA Today’s John Fritze outlines the history:

The court docket has appeared favorably on non secular freedom claims in latest disputes over the First Modification’s institution clause, which prohibits the authorities from turning into entangled with faith, and the modification’s free train clause, which ensures the precise to follow faith free of presidency interference.

In 2014, the court docket upheld a centuries-old custom of offering prayers to open government meetings, even when these prayers are overwhelmingly Christian. In 2019, the court docket dominated {that a} Latin cross on government land outside Washington, D.C., didn’t must be moved or altered within the title of church-state separation. This time period, the Supreme Court docket is contemplating a case a couple of non secular group that wishes to raise a flag outside Boston’s City Hall simply as some secular teams do.   

Search for a ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton this summer season.

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