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Federal Appeals Court Rejects Appeal From Praying Coach

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A Washington state high school football coach took advantage of his position when he prayed on the field after games and is not entitled to immediately get his job back, a federal appeals court ruled last week.

The three-judge panel held that Bremerton High School coach Joe Kennedy's prayers did not constitute protected free speech because he was acting as a public employee, not a private citizen, when he conducted them.

Kennedy had been leading players in postgame prayers, but the Bremerton school district ordered him to stop in 2015, saying the practice violated the separation of church and state required by the U.S. Constitution. He lost his job after he defied the ban.

The case has drawn broad national attention, including when President Donald Trump featured Kennedy at a campaign event in Virginia last October.

Vol. 37, Issue 02, Page 4

Published in Print: August 30, 2017, as Federal Appeals Court Rejects Appeal From Praying Coach
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