EDITORIAL

Stop the pressure on athletes to pray

Edward Byrne, Sports Photography. CC 2.0 2014.
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In a not so shocking 6–3 decision the reactionary Supreme Court declared that of course coaches have the right to quietly pray on the 50-yard line at the end of a game. But that isn’t what happened.

Neil Gorsuch twisted the facts into a knot to rule that Bremerton High School was wrong to bar Christian football coach Joseph Kennedy from “praying quietly while his students were otherwise occupied.” In fact, the coach led his team in a public prayer circle — after urging the athletes to join him.

This is not about “freedom of religion.” It’s about pressure to conform. Some players complained. But others shut up and knelt. Student athletes fear losing their spot on the roster, playing time or college scholarships if they rock the boat. So they take a knee to the coach’s god regardless of personal beliefs. The Court basically said, “your lives don’t matter” to Jewish, Muslim, atheist, and non-Christian kids.

Coaches already wield too much power over the lives of young athletes. Let’s not give them more. For the separation of church, state and sports.

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