Bremerton, Washington – U.S. Marine Veteran and coach Joe Kennedy always prays at the 50 yard line after a game, to say thanks for the students who played that day. But someone didn’t like it, and demanded that the Bremerton School district conduct an “investigation.”
God, Country, Corps
Coach Kennedy is the assistant head coach for the Varsity team, and the head coach for the Junior Varsity squad. He has never demanded or asked for students to participate in his prayer. He just goes out on the field after the game and everyone from kids to adults joins him. He has even been asked to let some of the kids lead those prayers. If he does that, the school has promised to fire him. As yet, he has not been fired or placed on administrative leave.
He has not stopped praying after every game, either. He is an equal opportunity pray warrior too- holding the helmets of both teams up in his prayer. Parents and onlookers have watched him do his prayer for years, and no one has ever complained. Until now.
“I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, and it’s been about protecting the freedom of other people. It’s about the freedom, and people can believe whatever they want. I’m just exercising my right. The game is over, and I just thank God for every one of these young men that are out here.” Joe Kennedy
A rousing “amen!” usually follows his prayers, and according to KREM, those prayers only last about 13 seconds.
One fan who was at a game for the opposing team actually supported Coach Kennedy:
“It’s freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to participate.” Bill Bailey
A Facebook page called “Support Joe Kennedy” has been set up with a rally for the Coach this coming Friday at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. It asks people to come out and support him.
“Bremerton High School Football Coach Kennedy, Joe, has been asked to let the students lead prayers and not him. He has been praying with all kids and coaches, win or lose, on the 50 yard line after each game home or away for the past 9 years. HE DOES NOT FORCE ANYONE TO PRAY. Let us all show is support by praying with him after the game.”
Is Coach Kennedy worried about losing his job? Nope – he’s a Marine.
“I don’t really worry about all that nonsense. The only thing I worry about is the kids. It’s not about what my beliefs are, it’s about believing in each other. It’s about the sport that we love.”
The influence of a coach is huge in any sport at any level from high school to college. The investigation may center around the role of the Coach in the prayers and students’ participation.
Coach Kennedy leads by example- no pressure, no forcing, and uses good sportsmanship as his foundation. Perhaps that is what has someone worried- that a Coach who prays is some sort of dangerous influence on their child. We just have 3 words: Get Over It.