Author Topic: High school football coach scores big win at Supreme Court over post-game prayer  (Read 1541 times)


David Garner

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https://www.foxnews.com/politics/high-school-football-coach-scores-big-win-supreme-court-post-game-prayer?intcmp=fb_fnc&fbclid=IwAR0tEsjcyp88n_TjpF8qJLcQX9jOkcy_hLuutld6Cy-RXKEB4Dzr72t-xmw

Gorsuch’s writing is so clear and so good. Alito did a nice job with Dobbs, but Gorsuch is the best writer on the Court right now.

Kagan is second, in my opinion.

A few examples of the former from this opinion.

“That the First Amendment doubly protects religious speech is no accident. It is a natural outgrowth of the framers’ distrust of government attempts to regulate religion and suppress dissent. See, e.g., A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, in Selected Writings of James Madi- son 21, 25 (R. Ketcham ed. 2006). “In Anglo–American history, . . . government suppression of speech has so com- monly been directed precisely at religious speech that a free-speech clause without religion would be Hamlet without the prince.”


“As we have seen, the District argues that its suspension of Mr. Kennedy was essential to avoid a violation of the Establishment Clause. Id., at 35–42. On its account, Mr. Kennedy’s prayers might have been protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses. But his rights were in “direct tension” with the competing demands of the Estab- lishment Clause. App. 43. To resolve that clash, the District reasoned, Mr. Kennedy’s rights had to “yield.” Ibid. The Ninth Circuit pursued this same line of thinking, in- sisting that the District’s interest in avoiding an Establishment Clause violation “‘trump[ed]’” Mr. Kennedy’s rights to religious exercise and free speech. 991 F. 3d, at 1017; see also id., at 1020–1021.

But how could that be? It is true that this Court and others often refer to the “Establishment Clause,” the “Free Exercise Clause,” and the “Free Speech Clause” as separate units. But the three Clauses appear in the same sentence of the same Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech.” Amdt. 1. A natural reading of that sentence would seem to suggest the Clauses have “complementary” purposes, not warring ones where one Clause is always sure to prevail over the others. See Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, 330 U. S. 1, 13, 15 (1947).

The District arrived at a different understanding this way. It began with the premise that the Establishment Clause is offended whenever a “reasonable observer” could conclude that the government has “endorse[d]” religion. App. 81. The District then took the view that a “reasonable observer” could think it “endorsed Kennedy’s religious ac- tivity by not stopping the practice.” 991 F. 3d, at 1018; see also App. 80–81; Parts I and II, supra. On the District’s account, it did not matter whether the Free Exercise Clause protected Mr. Kennedy’s prayer. It did not matter if his expression was private speech protected by the Free Speech Clause. It did not matter that the District never actually endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s prayer, no one complained that it had, and a strong public reaction only followed after the District sought to ban Mr. Kennedy’s prayer. Because a reasonable observer could (mistakenly) infer that by allowing the prayer the District endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s message, the District felt it had to act, even if that meant suppressing otherwise protected First Amendment activities. In this way, the District effectively created its own “vise between the Establishment Clause on one side and the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses on the other,” placed itself in the middle, and then chose its preferred way out of its self-imposed trap.”
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

J. Thomas Shelley

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First Amendment free exercise rights are not shed by signing a government employment contract.
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Charles Austin

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More idiocy. And a blatant attempt to use the free speech and freedom of religion principle to advance a particular act of faith in a public setting. OK, so the coach is allowed. If he cares for peace in his community and has any concerns for those around him who might disagree, he will not do it. It is absurd to think that this is the only way, let alone an appropriate way for him to pray after a game.

Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. When the nation is troubled, the patriot depends on the Constitution. The opportunistic traitor tries to dump or ignore the Constitution.

David Garner

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More idiocy. And a blatant attempt to use the free speech and freedom of religion principle to advance a particular act of faith in a public setting. OK, so the coach is allowed. If he cares for peace in his community and has any concerns for those around him who might disagree, he will not do it. It is absurd to think that this is the only way, let alone an appropriate way for him to pray after a game.

The question is not whether it is wise. The question is whether it is Constitutionally protected.
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Charles Austin

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Well, now the question is whether it is wise. I say no.
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, New York and New Jersey. LCA/LWF staff. Former journalist. When the nation is troubled, the patriot depends on the Constitution. The opportunistic traitor tries to dump or ignore the Constitution.

George Rahn

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Well, now the question is whether it is wise. I say no.

So I guess this means your wisdom overrides the US Constitution.  What hubris!

Donald_Kirchner

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I read that some students across the field saw the coach praying, and they were offended.

Charles wasn't even there, and he's offended that a Christian prays in public. You've got it bad, Charles.
Don Kirchner

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peterm

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Charles is not necessarily wrong because precedents have also upheld that prayer cannot be compelled.  The coach is welcome to pray all he wants too, but should also be aware of how when and where
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

peter_speckhard

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Interestingly, the complaint came from the parents of an atheist football player who worried that his playing time might be affected if he didn't participate. True, coaches have all kinds of power over high school players, and simply saying "you don't have to do this," doesn't alleviate much of the pressure to do it if you think it is what the coach really wants. But that is the nature of someone having a lot of power. The same thing happens with teachers who don't force anyone to do anything but let their own views be known-- it can pressure kids to want to get in good with the teacher by agreeing. Not much that can really be done about the basic workings of social pressures short of having all of our children's role models be robots.

But my real interest in this case is different. I can see how a religious person can be harmed by being forced/expected to participate in the rites of another religion. But it is hard to see how an atheist is harmed. After all, the coach regularly tells the players what to do. He makes them run laps, he tells them to huddle up, he leads cheers for the school, whatever. The players are expected to go along with it even if they think it is stupid. And that is really all that happens to an atheist who is part of a prayer huddle-- he does something he thinks is stupid. He isn't in the same position as practitioner/believer of another religion, who might be guilty of blasphemy, idolatry, or some violation of his religious principles by taking part. In his own mind, they aren't talking to anybody, they just think they are. It is a silly show. But no sillier than the rowdy, get fired up huddle before the game. So even if he sort of feels obligated to participate, how has the atheist been harmed by participating?

I think the atheist has been harmed if he is forced to participate in a prayer, but in a different way than a player of a different religion, whose god or religion might forbid it. How has the atheist been harmed? By being forced to pretend. It is degrading. If I were an atheist I might not go to the prayer, or, if I were too timid to risk losing the coach's favor, I might stand there without saying anything. But if I were expected to pray I would feel violated.

Being forced to pretend you believe something you know (or think you know) to be false, or being expected to assure other people that you believe it, is an affront, a humiliation, a degradation. Even if it is slight or a mere feeling that is hard to put your finger on, it is there. It is the feeling of an atheist in a prayer huddle. No, it doesn't hurt him to play along. But it irks him, and rightfully so, to be expected to.

That's how I feel when someone tells me their pronouns. I'm like an atheist who has just been invited/expected to participate in a whole heap of religious bullcrap I don't believe in. No, it won't hurt me to play along, but it rightfully irks me to be expected to. And the same is true of people who ask me to wear a mask when we all know the paper thing they're handing me doesn't do squat. It doesn't really harm me to wear a mask. It is the expectation that I play along with something I believe to be fundamentally false that irks me. Again, in those circumstances, I am like the atheist at the 50 yard line.

I think the SCOTUS got it right. The atheist can't insist that the believer not be a believer. I can be irked by people offering me their pronouns, but I can't claim a constitutional right not to be confronted by them. A coach who offers pronouns is a coach praying to a god I don't believe in. So be it. I can play along or not. And a coach praying to whatever god or God he prays to is doing something an atheist doesn't believe in. Bummer. What we need is basic respect for people's different beliefs rather than a demand that everyone hide their beliefs.
   
« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 12:51:00 PM by peter_speckhard »

Dave Benke

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From a multi-religious corner of the world, these rulings protect any and all religious expressions, including those who choose not to participate because they're not religious or don't particularly go for Coach A's evangelicalist version of Christianity or Coach Y's Muslim prayer before the game, or Coach Z's head garments.  I'm remembering in France (?) that wearing the hijab was prohibited - my understanding is that can't happen in the US because it's a matter of freedom of religious expression.  But if Coach Z said all the girls needed to wear a hijab during the public school hoops game, that would not be allowed.

And that's why today is the last day of the school year in NYC.  Religious observance days allowed and certified by the civil government.

Dave Benke
It's OK to Pray

Donald_Kirchner

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Charles is not necessarily wrong because precedents have also upheld that prayer cannot be compelled.  The coach is welcome to pray all he wants too, but should also be aware of how when and where

I'm not following.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 12:42:07 PM by Donald_Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

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Jim Butler

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Well, now the question is whether it is wise. I say no.

Charles Austin's new T-shirt: "It's NOT OK to pray."
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris

peterm

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Well, now the question is whether it is wise. I say no.

Charles Austin's new T-shirt: "It's NOT OK to pray."

Charles can fight his own battles, but I will simply point out that this is NOT what he said
« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 01:24:00 PM by Richard Johnson »
Rev. Peter Morlock- ELCA pastor serving two congregations in WIS

Jim Butler

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Well, now the question is whether it is wise. I say no.

Charles Austin's new T-shirt: "It's NOT OK to pray."

Charkes can fight his own battles, but I will simply point out that this is NOT what he said

YMMV.
The significance of the passage of time, right? The significance of the passage of time. So when you think about it, there is great significance to the passage of time. -- VP Kamala Harris