Justices Ask Whether Left’s Wokeness Should Be the Only Religion Allowed in Public Schools

Justices Ask Whether Left’s Wokeness Should Be the Only Religion Allowed in Public Schools
AP

Over the past 60 years, public schools have been scrubbed of religion, stripped bare in the name of the name of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which bars favoring one religion over others. Now the void is being filled by social justice ideology, the left’s religion by another name.

Why should traditional religion be discriminated against, while teachers and coaches are allowed to proselytize their woke belief system, displaying Gay Pride symbols and BLM slogans in the classroom? Are children any less at risk of coercion or indoctrination by these ideas presented by authority figures whom they’re eager to please?

That’s the inflammatory context for a high school football coach’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was heard Monday. Joseph Kennedy, who coached for the Bremerton School District in Washington state, customarily took a knee and prayed quietly on the 50-yard line after games. Occasionally, some players and attendees joined him, though he didn’t call for them to participate.

Bremerton officials told him praying within sight of students violated the Establishment Clause and asked him to go across campus and pray in the janitor’s office. Kennedy refused, arguing that would send a message that prayer is bad and must be hidden. The refusal cost him his job.

Kennedy’s lawyer told the justices on Monday that the firing violated the coach’s right to freely practice his religion. Clarence Thomas asked whether Kennedy would have been fired had he taken a knee to protest racism. Samuel Alito queried whether a coach taking a knee to protest the invasion of Ukraine, or climate change, or another political issue would have been fired.

If the reason for the firing is religion, Alito said, that’s unconstitutional discrimination.

Much of the back and forth was over whether the coach’s barely audible prayer amounted to government speech, which can be regulated. Probably not. He was praying after the game, when his duties were over, and his words were barely audible even to people close by.

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