https://pjmedia.com/culture/marktapscott/2022/06/27/high-courts-6-3-decision-for-coach-joe-is-a-warning-shot-against-faith-freedoms-foes-n1608485

Leftist enemies of the First Amendment’s guarantee of every individual American’s freedom of religious expression and practice should read today’s landmark 6-3 decision upholding Coach Joe Kennedy as a warning shot to cease and desist.

If you doubt that, read the first paragraph of Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion in which he brings together in one succinct statement the tyranny inherent in the Left’s profoundly flawed view of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and the obvious, common-sense understanding that the Constitution means what it says (I’ve divided it into three graphs for ease of reading):

“Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks. Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters.

“He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied. Still, the Bremerton School District disciplined him anyway. It did so because it thought anything less could lead a reasonable observer to conclude (mistakenly) that it endorsed Mr. Kennedy’s religious beliefs. That reasoning was misguided. Both the Free Exercise and Free Speech Clauses of the First Amendment protect expressions like Mr. Kennedy’s.

“Nor does a proper understanding of the Amendment’s Establishment Clause require the government to single out private religious speech for special disfavor. The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike.”

And a little further on in the decision, the Court’s conservative majority pointed out that:

“Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic — whether those expressions take place in a sanctuary or on a field, and whether they manifest through the spoken word or a bowed head. 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.”

It’s hard to imagine how the majority could have put it more bluntly — the government has no obligation at any level to use its power to suppress religious practice and expression. Indeed, to do so is blatant discrimination.

Related: Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Football Coach Who Prayed With His Players After Games

Coach Kennedy was represented in this struggle by the Plano, Texas-based First Liberty Institute, which is doing the Lord’s work in representing many victims of the Left’s determination to toss religious freedom out of the public square entirely.

“This is a tremendous victory for Coach Kennedy and religious liberty for all Americans,” First Liberty’s President, CEO, and Chief Counsel Kelly Shackleford said in a statement issued shortly after the decision became public.

“Our Constitution protects the right of every American to engage in private religious expression, including praying in public, without fear of getting fired.  We are grateful that the Supreme Court recognized what the Constitution and law have always said – American’s [sic] are free to live out their faith in public.” Shackleford said.

Gorsuch was joined in the opinion by Justices Clarence Thomas, Amy Coney Barrett, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, who seems to be recognizing more frequently these days the strength of the conservative majority’s constitutional understanding.

Note that President Donald Trump appointed three of the six justices, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. Trump said before being elected to the Presidency in 2016 that he would appoint conservative, originalist jurists who would respect the Constitution and uphold American liberty.

Whatever else anybody thinks about the former president, the man deserves respect and honor for keeping his promise. The precedents are now firmly in place that enable advocates of First Amendment liberty to achieve yet more victories.

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