Supreme Court further erodes separation between church and state in case of praying football coach

6/27/22
 
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from CNN,
6/27/22:

The Supreme Court said Monday that a Washington state school district violated the First Amendment rights of a high school football coach when he lost his job after praying at the 50-yard line after games.

The opinion was 6-3 along conservative-liberal ideological lines.

“The Constitution and the best of our traditions counsel mutual respect and tolerance, not censorship and suppression, for religious and nonreligious views alike,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

The court said coach Joe Kennedy’s prayers amounted to private speech, protected by the First Amendment, and could not be restricted by the school district.

“We are aware of no historically sound understanding of the Establishment Clause that begins to ‘(make) it necessary for government to be hostile to religion’ in this way,” Gorsuch wrote.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing for the three liberal dissenters, said the court “weakens” the Establishment Clause’s “backstop” protecting religious freedom.

“It elevates one individual’s interest in personal religious exercise, in the exact time and place of that individual’s choosing, over society’s interest in protecting the separation between church and state, eroding the protections for religious liberty for all,” Sotomayor wrote.

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