Bremerton High is a school in Washington that has been grappling with some thorny issues around religious freedom and the separation of church and state. A football coach named Joe Kennedy has been leading prayer circles for years. They're Christian prayer circles, just to be clear. According to a very detailed statement from the school district, it wasn't a practice widely known outside the school, and a rep from another district happened to see Coach Kennedy kneeling on the field and mentioned it to administrators at Bremerton. They told him to knock it off, and he refused. Now the school has been thrust into the media spotlight.
The Bremerton District admins have been trying to work with Coach Kennedy so that he can still pray, but not in a way that violates the very clear laws against anything that could be seen as coercive to students. Apparently, he isn't interested in compromise. They throw some amazing shade at him in their statement with this:
To date, Mr. Kennedy has not taken the District up on any of these offers. Instead, his legal representatives have clearly stated in the media that an accommodation that does not allow Kennedy the spotlight of the 50-yard line immediately following games will be unacceptable to him.
Hahaha. They mad.
Coach Kennedy was carrying on as usual in all the brouhaha, but he is now officially suspended on paid leave. Why? Because the students were like,"Enough talk. You want religious freedom? We'll give you some religious freedom." Then they got in touch with the closet chapter of The Satanic Temple and asked them to lead an invocation on the football field. Here's the letter the Temple sent to Bremerton High shortly before Kennedy's suspension:
And it worked. Kennedy's off the field and the Satanists have also agreed not to summon Lucifer at the goal post.
On Thursday, Kennedy did attend the game, where he prayed in the stands. The Satanists also came, to support the players and students, and were met with mixed reactions. Some yelled "Jesus" at them and that they should go away. Others thanked them for coming. And no one was forced to pray to any gods they didn't want to. Whatever your beliefs, you gotta admit: The Satanic Temple gets things done.