Saturday, July 2, 2022

SCOTUS Praying Coach Supplemental Reading

Let's revisit the case of Coach Kennedy, the guy who just wanted to offer a quiet personal prayer at the fifty yard line with his student athletes and a couple hundred interested onlookers. Here's an account of the basics, if you need to review.

If you (or people you talk to about this kind of thing) are still struggling with the weird disconnect between what Justice Gorsuch says happened and what, well, everybody else says, here are a couple of items that make good supplemental reading for the case. 

First, there's this piece from the Seattle Times. Bremerton, the site of all this noise, is right nearby, so this newspaper has been covering this story since the beginning, like, back in the days when Coach Kennedy was explaining that he was deliberately leading students in prayer to make them better people and long before he got legal advice to go with the "quiet personal prayer" thing. 

I also recommend the decision of the Ninth Circuit, in which the court lays out the timeline of events clearly and with a fair amount of judicial sass.

If you aren't in the mood to read through the Ninth Circuit opinion, then the indispensable Mercedes Schneider has selected and contextualized all the best parts, and you can read her handiwork here. Either way, you can take in this nifty opening paragraph:

Unlike Odysseus, who was able to resist the seductive song of the Sirens by being tied to a mast and having his shipmates stop their ears with bees’ wax, our colleague, Judge O’Scannlain, appears to have succumbed to the Siren song of a deceitful narrative of this case spun by counsel for Appellant, to the effect that Joseph Kennedy, a Bremerton High School (BHS) football coach, was disciplined for holding silent, private prayers. That narrative is false.

I know this is not a fun case to wallow in, but we're going to be feeling the effects of this for a long time. And the fact that the christo-majority mounted a fictional verion of events from which to launch a takedown of the Lemon Rules, is just a sign that this was a deliberate stroke, and by no means the end of the story. Which means we should all do our homework and understand what the story actually is. 

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