US Supreme Court upholds public school coach's prayers

The ultra-conservative United States Supreme Court on Monday further extended the place of religion in public schools, invalidating the dismissal of a football coach who prayed on the field.

US Supreme Court upholds public school coach's prayers

The ultra-conservative United States Supreme Court on Monday further extended the place of religion in public schools, invalidating the dismissal of a football coach who prayed on the field.

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Three days after burying the right to abortion, his six conservative judges, against the advice of their three progressive colleagues, ruled in favor of Joseph Kennedy, who had supervised the high school teams in Bremerton, near Seattle, for seven years. (north-west), before losing his job.

"A government entity wanted to punish an individual for a brief, quiet, and personal religious practice," "the Constitution neither mandates nor condones this kind of discrimination," Judge Neil Gorsuch wrote on their behalf.

After each game, the coach had taken to kneeling in prayer in the middle of the field, sometimes joined by his players. He sometimes led locker room prayers before or after games.

In 2015, school officials asked him to abstain, citing a section of the Constitution's First Amendment that prohibits the state and its employees from encouraging the "establishment" of a religion, that is to say, to finance it or to promote its practice.

As he refused, they did not renew his contract. He then took legal action, relying on another provision of the First Amendment which guarantees freedom of religion and expression.

These two clauses are regularly the subject of disputes and the Supreme Court had until recently held the crest line. But its conservative majority, solidified by Donald Trump, now tips the balance in favor of religious circles.

In May, she felt that Boston City Hall should let a Christian group display its flag on City Hall. Last week, she ruled that the state of Maine could not exclude denominational schools from a public aid scheme.

“The Constitution and our best traditions encourage mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and nullification, for religious and non-religious views,” she now writes in the Joseph Kennedy filing.

In a new bitter text, the three progressive magistrates of the Court accuse their colleagues of having "distorted the facts" of the file. According to them, the coach's prayers were not "personal and discreet, but "demonstrative" since he "regularly invited others to join him".

Rare in a legal argument, they attach a photo of the coach surrounded by young players, on their knees praying.

"This decision does a disservice to schools and the young citizens they serve, as well as to our Nation's long-term commitment to separate church and state," added Judge Sonia Sotomayor on their behalf. .

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