A legislation allowing coaches and other school staff to take part in post-game prayers was introduced by a Washington state lawmaker earlier this week.
Rep. Jesse Young introduced H.B. 1602 on Wednesday in response to an incident at a school district where Joe Kennedy, former assistant football coach at Bremerton High School, was prohibited from participating in post-game prayers in the football field.
Kennedy, who had participated and led prayers since 2008, was placed on paid administrative leave in October 2015 when he prayed after a homecoming game despite an order to cease the practice, Christian News reported.
The district had previously praised the coach for his contributions to the football program, but it also raised concerns that it could be held liable for violating the constitutional rights of students because of the prayers.
Kennedy sued the district, asking to be rehired and be allowed to pray on the field after the games.
"It's a really important issue for me because this is a covenant I made with God—before I even started coaching, that if I became a coach, what I would do is give You the glory on the 50 after every game," Kennedy said.
He said that he never asked students to pray with him, but some wanted to, including those from the opposing team.
The legislation would make it legal for coaches and other school administration to take part in prayers on school grounds after the school day has ended. If it becomes law, districts that prohibit such prayers could be fined $5,000 to $20,000, according to CBN News.
Young said he believes the bill is constitutional because it involves an activity that is conducted after a school event is over.
"No. 1, [the legislation] defines when a game ends and it gives school districts immunity for coaches to exercise their First Amendment rights after the game has ended. So from that standpoint, those are well within the constitutional boundaries," he said.
He also noted that it does not endorse any particular religion, and it does not require anyone to participate.
- Judge denies restraining order against California baker who refused to make same-sex wedding cake
- Doughnut shop draws backlash from LGBT activists over partnership with Salvation Army
- Ohio legislature approves measure banning abortions on babies diagnosed with Down syndrome
- Famed theologian RC Sproul dies after being hospitalized due to breathing difficulties
A Protestant pastor in Indonesia is facing a blasphemy charge over his remarks about the Quran during his conversation with a taxi driver.
British government refuses to answer whether proclaiming Christianity can be considered a hate crime
A representative of the British government in the House of Lords has refused to say whether proclaiming the Christian faith could be considered a hate crime.
Apart from attacks from Fulani herdsmen and Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, Christians in Nigeria are also facing increasing threats and attacks from occult groups that are targeting churches at night.
A young boy who was staying at the Smyllum Park orphanage in the 1960s was beaten "black and blue" after catching two nuns in an embrace at a boiler room, a child abuse inquiry has heard.
Sudanese court upholds eviction of pastors as government steps up campaign to take over church properties
A Sudanese court has turned down an appeal of two pastors who were evicted from their church-owned homes in August as part of what is believed to be a government campaign to take over church property.
Pro-life leaders accuse Pope Francis of undermining Church teachings on contraception, sexual morality
Pro-life leaders from across the world have accused Pope Francis and other Church leaders of failing to uphold Catholic teachings on sexual morality, contraception, sex education, marriage, and other life and family issues.
A Christian teacher in the U.K. is suing a school after he was suspended for referring to a transgender pupil, who self-identifies as male, as a girl.
A missionary has recounted how a persecuted Christian family in Myanmar became bold witnesses for Christ after they forgave a mob who tried to kill them for their faith.
Amnesty International Ireland is being threatened with criminal charges after it refused to return an illegal donation from U.S. billionaire George Soros to fund its pro-abortion campaign.
A new documentary from the History Channel has claimed that Jesus Christ may not have been born in a stable of an inn but a residential house owned by Joseph's relative in Bethlehem.
Members of the British parliament are asking the government to consider refusing entry to U.S. evangelist Franklin Graham, who is accused of making inflammatory comments against Islam and the LGBT community.