Save The Orchids

What a world we live in.

Joe Kennedy, a retired Marine and high school football coach from Bremerton, has been suspended from his job because he refused to stop saying a short prayer on the fifty-yard line after football games.

The problem was not that he prayed, but that he prayed in a place where he could be seen by other people.

In a letter, the school district explained that they may not “indirectly encourage students to engage in religious activity (or discourage them from doing so)”.

They further explained that the coach’s behavior was illegal because he was “a District employee, on the field only by virtue of his employment with the District, still on duty, under the bright lights of the stadium, engaged in what was clearly, given your prior conduct, overtly religious conduct.”

As a result the Superintendent concluded that “a court would almost certainly find that behavior to “constitute District endorsement of religion in violation of the United States Constitution.”

So you’re telling me the Founding Father’s risked their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors to make sure no coach ever said a short prayer on the fifty-yard line after a football game?

I can just imagine George Washington’s prayer, on one knee, in the snow of Valley Forge.

Dear God, though I feel guilty for being in prayer while in uniform and on duty, especially in light of the fact that I am close enough to my troops that I might be observed by them and thereby subject them to a micro-aggression, please give us success in our quest for independence.  Otherwise, how will we protect future generations of children from the sight of a man in prayer?”

The school district is arguing that if a student sees or hears a school district employee doing something, they immediately assume that teacher is speaking on behalf of the entire school district.

By this logic, a student who sees a teacher with a cross, yarmulke, or hijab while at work assumes the school district is promoting Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.  No one thinks that.

Heaven help the 49er fans in Seattle schools.

We all agree that a primary purpose of education is to wrestle with ideas different than our own, but we apparently feel compelled to protect them from the people who hold those beliefs.

Of course the impulse to protect students from ideas that offend them is a one way street. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim students are forced to sit through progressive propaganda about marriage, gender, and sexuality starting in kindergarten.

No one cares if they’re offended.

And really, what’s more coercive, a one-hour lecture on how beautiful it is that Timmy has seven daddies or the sight of a man on one knee?

Which begs the question, what if the coach doesn’t actually pray when he bows? What if he quietly recites the Gettysburg Address instead? Is he still fired?

It’s a silly question because the entire inquiry is silly.

Regardless, otherwise intelligent adults take this conversation seriously because, while they were in school, they learned to see themselves and everyone around them as victims.  Now they are running a school system that is engineered to raise the next generation of victims.

Instead of a school system training courageous leaders who are prepared to navigate the always turbulent waters of the real world; instead of training young people who will stand for their convictions and respect the convictions of others because freedom is awesome…we are training little orchids.

“Oh, that idea offends you? Ok, we’ll punish them for expressing it.”

“Oh, you’re uncomfortable being the only person in the room who shares your belief? Ok, we’ll create a free speech zone to make sure can avoid being exposed to ideas you disagree with.”

Soon, no challenge will be so small that it cannot crush us.

Just this week, a coalition of seventy-two groups asked the federal government to require colleges to monitor social media in order to protect students from threatening and offensive comments online.

Nothing says, “preparing college students for the real world” like an initiative to protect them from words they don’t like.

Of course we want to continually pursue kindness and encourage others to do the same. Still, in an imperfect world, we can either yell at the clouds for giving us rain or grab an umbrella.  Lots of us are still yelling at the clouds.

I received a phone call this week from a chaplain who works in retirement facilities for veterans.  The facilities have recently adopted a new policy to screen out cards and greetings sent to the veterans that contain “religious messages.”

These veterans may have risked their lives in combat, but the government is doing its best to protect them from Veteran’s Day cards that say “God Bless”.

The situation with coach Joe Kennedy is a problem, but it is also the symptom of a problem.  We are now a country with so little chutzpah that we take seriously the idea that someone might be offended by the sight of a man bowed in prayer…unless, of course, he was simply reciting the Gettysburg Address on one knee.

In that case, there’s nothing to worry about, little orchid.

Sign the petition to support Coach Joe!

Follow Joseph Backholm on Twitter @josephbackholm

3 replies
  1. Nancy Thompson
    Nancy Thompson says:

    Here are two quotations from our STATE Constitution.
    *ART. 1, SECT. 11 “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM. Absolute freedom of conscience in all matters of religious sentiment, belief and worship, shall be guaranteed to every individual, and no one shall be molested or disturbed in person or property on account of religion…”
    **ART. 26. “COMPACT WITH THE UNITED STATES. The following ordinance shall be irrevocable without the consent of the United States and the people of this state: First. That perfect toleration of religious sentiment shall be secured and that no inhabitant of this state shall ever be molested in person or property on account of his or her mode of religious worship…”

  2. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    Loved the analogy with young people being coddled like little orchids. Isn’t that what our liberal peers want to foster– a bunch of wimps who play victim and helpless? Then the more highly evolved progressives( as they call themselves) can push around their underlings. I wouldn’t be so sure that the courts won’t side with the school district. These are freaky times with evil prevailing in many courtrooms. If you pack the courts with progressive judges who are legislating from the bench, the decisions have been decidedly anti-Christian in recent days. So, when are we going to all hop in our cars and drive to Washington, D.C. and protest the way the Afro-American community did during the civil rights movement? We need to overwhelm the capital of our nation just as they are overwhelming us taxpayers with their nonsense.

  3. Tionico
    Tionico says:

    quote: “a court would almost certainly find that behavior to “constitute District endorsement of religion in violation of the United States Constitution.”

    These are supposed to be edicated men? Have any of them bothered to READ that First Article of Ammendment to our Constitution? It reads: CONGRESS shall make no law establishing a religion…..”

    If this does come before a court, and it seems it will, that court MUST toss it, as CONGRESS have made no law directing this coach to do or not do anything. Thus, since CONGRESS made no law being acted upon by this man, there is no violation. Joe Kennedy may wel be attempting to estblish a religion by his actions (I don’t think so, but let’s pretend he is). STILL no violation of that First ARticle, because it is not CONGRESS attemting to establish any religion.

    and these idiot foxes are in charge of the henhouse? I hope that part of Kitsap COunty begins to recall and replace those responsible for this insane decision. they were afraid of a lawsuit, they claim, and that’s why Joe can’t pray midfield AFTER his responsibilities for the day are concluded. Fine, it looks like they will have their lawsuit… only not the one they feared, It will be far worse,. Court precedents have consistently come down in the side of men like Joe.. because Joe is not CONGRESS.


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