(HH here: now at first glance a moderate to conservative who did not have a personal ax to grind against Christianity might see this article as reasonable. But take note that if there ever arose in America a town High School with a majority of Muslim or Pagan students who tried to establish a “student” tradition like this one this same author’s head would explode.
The district is right on this one! The only solution is for teachers and coaches to maintain total neutrality toward religion IN THEIR JOB. What they speak when THEY are paying for their speech is certainly their own business. But not when they are on the job. It is not the function of a coach to help “maintain the solidarity of traditional religion”. Not unless you want to agree with people like the Saudi Government and the Taliban.)
LAW OF THE LAND
Judges: Coach can’t bow head while players pray
Court decision affirms school’s ‘hostility’ to religion
Posted: March 03, 2009
1:29 pm Eastern
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a case involving a high school football coach’s effort to respect his players’ tradition of stopping for a moment of prayer prior to games, leaving in place an appeals court decision that essentially mandates a school policy of “hostility,” according to a law firm whose members worked on the case.
(HH here: one beautiful thing about some conservative judges; they have an annoying tendency, (annoying to their appointers that is”) they tend to get tot he Supreme Court and TAKE THE JOB SERIOUSLY. Many have shed partisanship and become much more impartial and objective once on the top bench.)
“This [decision] undermines a time-honored tradition that has less to do with religion than it does athletic tradition,” said John Whitehead, chief of The Rutherford Institute, which argued the case on behalf of Coach Marcus Borden of East Brunswick High School in New Jersey.
“It’s a sad statement on our rights as Americans that schools are no longer bastions of freedom. We’ve become so politically correct and secularized that religious individuals who seek the same First Amendment rights as others are censored,” Whitehead said.
(HH here: Coming from someone who would froth at the mouth at the thought of a Muslim or Pagan teacher or coach being able to speak their mind “uncensored” on things like prayer and religion this seems a tad disingenuous.)
As WND reported, a federal court of appeals concluded the high school coach broke the law routinely when he would bow his head or “take a knee” while his team prayed before games – a school tradition for 25 years.
Borden has defended himself, saying, “We’re teaching kids values. There’s nothing wrong with being spiritual.”
(HH: Spirituality is not a “Value” in the sense that a school should be teaching it. There are many different “spiritual values” and who gets to choose which ones YOUR kids are exposed to?)
A ruling from the 3rd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals agreed with the activists, saying Borden was endorsing religion unconstitutionally.
The Rutherford Institute said the decision was a blow to athletic coaches across the nation, because the rights of coaches to silently bow their heads in respect while student players are offering a pre-game prayer has been called unconstitutional.
The bottom line, Whitehead said, is that the logical interpretation now is that coaches – as well as teachers – have no constitutional rights of liberty, expression or academic freedom in connection with their jobs
The American Football Coaches Association had filed an amicus in support of Borden, declaring that “when the federal courts interpret the Constitution in a way that intrudes into the locker room, invades the player-coach relationship, and undermines a coach’s ability to maintain an atmosphere of mutual respect and team unity by showing deference to the prayers of this nation’s youth, that concerns the AFCA.”
(HH: WOW, that is almost a straight out statement that they want to be able to “enforce” a particular SPIRITUAL value system on their players. Nuf said I think. Supreme Court 1 Christian Theocrats 0.)
In its brief requesting a Supreme Court review, the Rutherford Institute warned of the impact of the decision.
“By enjoining Coach Borden from showing respect for his players voluntary prayer acts, the decision … requires public school educators to violate the Establishment Clause by showing disrespect and hostility towards student-initiated religious practices,” the brief said.
(HH here: I must have missed the part that said the coach was to “disrespect” anything. I read it as a requirement that the coach remain aloof, not in contempt. See how the all black or all white thinking or a totalitarian works?)
Prior rulings from at least three other federal court circuits have established that schools cannot show hostility to religion, and even the Supreme Court’s prior decisions reflect that belief, the institute argued.
“In Lynch v. Donnelly, this Court recognized that the Establishment Clause ‘affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any,'” the Rutherford Institute said.
(HH: here they are taking a page from the Muslims supremacists book. To not be seen to conform is to be seen as disrespecting. Our home grown version is a bit softer around the edges but Taliban is Taliban and by their fruit shall ye know them!)
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