Satanist Group To Crash Game If High School Allows Football Coach To Pray
It's God vs. Satan at Bremerton High School's season-ending football game tonight, and a capacity crowd is expected to witness this age-old rivalry unfold. God, with his heralded passing game and refusal to to cheat with deflated footballs, against the Devil, whose vaunted ground game extends to both sidelines, and underground.
The Satanic Temple of Seattle says it will crash Bremerton's season-ending football game on Thursday and perform a Devil-worship protest if assistant coach Joe Kennedy is allowed to pray on the field following the game, which he has done after every game since 2008. Because if God is allowed in a public school, why not Satan?
That was enough for the school district. Desperate to avoid a God. vs. the Devil showdown at midfield, Kennedy was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday, and therefore will not even be at the game, according to CNN and other reports. But conflict may not have been totally avoided. Satanic Temple leader Lilith Starr has not said if she has called off the protest. It may still be on.
As you may know, controversy has been germinating at Bremerton all school year, as Kennedy has been praying at the 50-yard-line following games, along with many players, in defiance of a court order that he stop. Critics say that he's violating the First Amendment prohibiting promotion of religion at a public school. But a conservative pro-religious group says that he's not breaking any laws, and so he continued to do it.
It's caused quite the controversy -- with freedom of religion groups, plus about 50 members of Congress -- supporting him. But many who point out that Bremerton is a public school are opposed to the prayer. And tonight was to be the big moment when it all came to a head.
From the Satanic Temple statement:
Being a taxpayer-funded institution the Bremerton School District lacks an abundance of options. They must either ensure Joe Kennedy does not pray (or if he does, take swift and decisive punitive action) or allow the Satanic Temple to access school grounds as outlined in countless Supreme Court precedents requiring equal footing for all religious beliefs should one be allowed resources, space on taxpayer-funded property, etc.
Bremerton School District response:
"While the district appreciates Kennedy's many positive contributions to the BHS 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."
Kennedy had been represented by the ultra-conservative Liberty Council, which maintained that he was praying on his own, and that some players had joined him of their own choosing. But the district countered that Kennedy serves as a school employee until the players leave the school and are placed back to their parents' supervision.
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