After the highly liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that a high school coach does not have the right to engage in a voluntary prayer after a football game, evangelist Franklin Graham was asked for his reaction Friday by FOX News Radio’s Todd Starnes.
In fact, the court determined that by kneeling to pray at the 50-yard line, Bremerton, Wash., football coach Joe Kennedy had himself violated the Constitution by praying:
When Kennedy kneeled and prayed on the fifty-yard line immediately after games while in view of students and parents, he spoke as a public employee, not as a private citizen, and his speech therefore was constitutionally unprotected.
Graham called the decision “sad,” but added that wasn’t really surprised by it:
"It's sad this has happened but it really doesn’t surprise me. We find these courts and these judges are making these decisions against the will of the people. We have judges out there who hate God and hate His standards and disrespect the people who follow God."
On social media, Graham suggested Christian coaches engage in civil disobedience next weekend in response to the decision:
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that coaches can’t pray or make religious gestures on the field after a game. These progressive activist judges have gone too far.
At next Friday night’s game, on September 1, I think it would be great if football coaches across the country went out on the field wherever they are and prayed. And those there to watch the game stand in prayer with them. Let’s show our support for Coach Kennedy, a former Marine who didn’t back down on prayer.
First Liberty Institute, which represents Kennedy, is considering whether or not it will appeal his case to the Supreme Court.