Todd's American Dispatch

Football coach refuses to lose religion, but will he lose his job?

October 16: Coach Kennedy prays on the field after the high school's homecoming game. (Courtesy Liberty Institute)

October 16: Coach Kennedy prays on the field after the high school's homecoming game. (Courtesy Liberty Institute)

The Washington state football coach defied the Bremerton School
District on Oct. 16 by dropping to a knee and praying at midfield after the Friday night football game.

For years Coach Kennedy would walk to midfield and pray after the football game had ended. He was inspired to pray after watching the faith-based football film, “Facing the Giants.”

“I’m going to be bold in my faith, and fight the good fight,” he told the Kitsap Sun. “It’s beyond humbling to have so much support. Whateverhappens -- happens.”

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The Bremerton School District issued a stern letter to the coach just hours before the football game – warning him not to pray.

“Strict adherence is required and expected, and violations cannot be tolerated,” school district attorney Jeffrey Ganson wrote in a letter to Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser.

Liberty Institute is representing the coach. They asked the school for a religious accommodation – but were denied.

For years Coach Kennedy would walk to midfield and pray after the football game had ended. He was inspired to pray after watching the faith-based football film, “Facing the Giants.

”In September the school district opened an investigation – fearing that the post-game prayers might violate the Constitution – and shortly thereafter – they banned his gridiron conversation with the Almighty.

The district forbade him from praying in public or mentioning anything religious in the locker room. They also banned him from kneeling or bowing his head.

The district also demanded that his inspirational messages to the team be secular.

Attorney Sasser told me what happened on Friday night during the Homecoming game -- was akin to a made-for-television movie.

After the final whistle blew, the coach walked to the 50-yard line and took a knee.The opposing team saw the coach and rushed back onto the field – along with a number of their fans.

“He had no idea he was surrounded by the opposing team,” Sasser told me. “It was a beautiful sight.”

As homecoming fireworks exploded in the air, the coach prayed and the fans cheered.

“It was an amazing, amazing time,” Sasser told me.

His courage even drew the attention of famed NFL coach and fellow Christian Tony Dungy.

“I appreciate Coach Kennedy staying true to his convictions,” Dungy wrote on Twitter.

“Glad I never faced anything like this in my career.”So the question is what happens now? Will Coach Kennedy be reprimanded? Will he be fired?

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

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