Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court issued a big win for prayer and religious liberty!
In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Court considered the petition of high school football coach, Joseph Kennedy, who often engaged in prayer during and after games. After his employer, Bremerton School District, asked him to stop the practice, Coach Kennedy refused. Upon being terminated, Coach Kennedy sued the school district for violating his First Amendment rights.
The question before the Court was whether a public school employee’s prayer during sporting events constituted protected speech, and whether it could be prohibited to adhere to the Establishment Clause.
The Supreme Court’s decision on Monday responded with a 6-3 decision siding with Coach Kennedy. Justice Gorsuch explained in the Court’s opinion:
“Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a brief, quiet, personal religious observance doubly protected by the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment. And the only meaningful justification the government offered for its reprisal rested on a mistaken view that it had a duty to ferret out and suppress . . . Religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.”
Our sister organization, the Institute for Faith & Family filed this Amicus Brief in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, because we believe some cities and counties in North Carolina have become increasingly hostile to religious practice and speech in public. Specifically, those cities that have passed nondiscrimination ordinances that elevate sexual orientation and gender identity above First Amendment rights may soon challenge the religious freedoms we have traditionally held. Other cities in North Carolina have challenged public prayer. Protecting religious freedom is of specific interest and concern to us, and this ruling is a huge victory for protecting religious freedom!
By filing Amicus Briefs on issues affecting North Carolina, we represent you before the U.S. Supreme Court. Last year we filed ten Amicus Briefs, and we’ve already filed three this year. All of this has been made possible by your support of efforts like ours to amplify the coalition’s voice across the branches and boundaries of your government.
If you haven’t given recently to our work, would you consider making a needed end-of-month donation? Would you also consider making a donation to IFFNC in gratitude for their hard work making us ‘friends of the court’ by writing and filing dozens of these amazing Amicus Briefs.
North Carolina Values Coalition