Some Muslims, Jews welcome court ruling allowing football coach to pray

Conservative Christians cheered the Supreme Court ruling last week that found the Constitution protects a high school football coach’s right to pray at the 50-yard line.

“A MASSIVE win” declared the evangelical ministry, Focus on the Family.

A “rightly determined” ruling, said the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy arm.

“A major victory for all Americans,” said Catholic Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.

The majority opinion, penned by Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, found that the former football coach, Joseph Kennedy, had a constitutional right to pray after games and that the Bremerton School District in Washington state was wrong to restrict him after he refused to end the practice.

For conservative Christians, who have long criticized the separation of church and state as well as the neutrality principle, it was one more in a string of resounding court victories. Many among them believe a public school teacher should be able to exercise their religion freely and openly in public, including in the classroom.

But now, some-minority faith leaders who previously looked to separation of church and state as a judicial concept that can protect their equality, are rethinking their positions.

“Fighting religion altogether and trying to ban it will only make things worse,” said Imam Abdullah Antepli, associate professor of the practice of public policy and interfaith relations at Duke University and Duke Divinity School. “We should own religion and claim it and claim our religious liberties.”


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