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Coach Who Was Fired for Kneeling to Pray on Field Doubles Down, Plans to Take Case to Supreme Court

Western Journal

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When is it not OK to kneel on a football field? When you’re bending the knee to pray, apparently.

That’s the lesson to be learned from Joe Kennedy, a Marine veteran and former football coach at Bremerton High School in Washington state’s Kitsap County. According to the First Liberty Institute, which is representing him, Kennedy was fired over silent, 15-second prayers after high school football games.

Meanwhile, in sports at amateur, professional and international levels, take a knee for any liberal cause and you’ll be celebrated — provided, of course, you’re not taking a knee for God.

In an interview last week with conservative pundit Todd Starnes, Kennedy said he never expected the now 6-year-old conflict to get as big as it has.

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“Well, it all started out thinking, you know, it was just a big misunderstanding and that, you know, we could totally work through this. And it became very evident that the school just wanted to remove absolutely any presence of religion whatsoever. And I could only go so far,” Kennedy said.

“And, you know, when you draw that line in the sand and they said, you know, ‘you have to pick between your faith and your job,’ that’s when I knew it was really serious and this became something real to me.”

According to First Liberty’s webpage, “Kennedy was head coach for the Bremerton High School junior varsity football team and an assistant coach for the varsity team. Before he even coached his first game, this Marine Corps veteran turned football coach made a commitment to God that he would give thanks after every game—win or lose—for the opportunity to be a football coach and for his players.

“So after his very first football game in 2008, Coach Kennedy waited until the players cleared the field, then took a knee and silently thanked God for his players. Coach Kennedy continued doing this after every game for seven years and no students, coaches or parents ever complained about it. In fact, it was a compliment that started the problems.”

After a school administrator expressed gratitude for Kennedy’s leadership, according to First Liberty, including the example he was setting through prayerfulness, the Bremerton School District investigated.

In a September 2015 letter to Kennedy, Superintendent Aaron Leavell described the results of the inquiry.

The letter noted Kennedy’s prayers and his practice of “providing an inspirational talk at the midfield following the completion of the game” with members of both teams.

The letter stated Kennedy’s talks had “overtly religious references.”

“Every activity has been voluntary,” Leavell wrote. “Nevertheless, as I believe you now understand, both activities would very likely be found to violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, exposing the district to significant risk of liability.”

In October of 2015, First Liberty lawyers responded with a letter of their own, arguing that “the First Amendment forbids religious activity that is sponsored by the government but protects religious activity that is initiated by individuals acting privately, as is the case with Coach Kennedy.”

“No reasonable observer could conclude that a football coach who waits until the game is over and the players have left the field and then walks to mid-field to say a short, private, personal prayer is speaking on behalf of the state. Quite the opposite, Coach Kennedy is engaged in private religious expression upon which the state may not infringe.”

First Liberty’s web page states that it asked for a compromise in which Coach Kennedy could be given 15 seconds of silent prayer at the end of the game, but the district wouldn’t allow him that.

“The school district said any perceived violations of their policy ‘cannot be tolerated,’” the web page stated.

“They ordered Coach Kennedy to stop praying after the game and then sent a letter to Coach Kennedy announcing that he was suspended and may not ‘participate, in any capacity, in BHS football program activities.’ The district suspended Coach Kennedy the day before the final varsity football game of the season and refused to renew his contract, resulting in the termination of his coaching career.”

Kennedy sued for religious discrimination but a federal district court dismissed the suit, a dismissal that was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, according to First Liberty.

First Liberty filed for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court to get the high court to take it up. The Supreme Court declined, according to First Liberty, but four justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — urged the 9th Circuit to reconsider its decision due to serious concerns.

“If this case were before us as an appeal within our mandatory jurisdiction, our clear obligation would be to vacate the decision below,” the four justices stated, according to First Liberty.

After another round through district court, the 9th Circuit again sided with the school district, according to First Liberty.

In an order dated July 19, the full circuit declined a First Liberty request to hear the case. A three-judge circuit court panel had sided with the school district in March, CBN reported.

But the law firm is far from giving up.

“Banning coaches from praying just because they can be seen is wrong and contradicts the Constitution,” Mike Berry, First Liberty Institute’s general counsel said after the 9th Circuit’s latest decision, according to First Liberty.

“Today’s opinion threatens the rights of millions of Americans who simply want to be able to freely exercise their faith without fear of losing their job.  We plan to appeal, and we hope the Supreme Court will right this wrong. This fight is far from over.”

In his interview with Starnes on Friday, Kennedy noted that his decision to kneel was held to an entirely different standard from athletes protesting the American flag or national anthem.

“Even if I happened to have just been down and tie my shoe, somebody would say, ‘Oh, look there, he’s kneeling again.’ And so, yeah, you can’t even close your eyes for a second. You can’t throw your hands up in the air during a play,” Kennedy told Starnes.

“It’s just so ridiculous to me how much, you know, of free liberty is just been gone and taken away from us.”

In addition, First Liberty lawyer Jeff Mateer told Starnes the forces of rabid secularism were teaming up against Kennedy’s First Amendment rights.

“You’ve got a school district being hostile who, by the way, now is represented by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State,” Mateer said.

“If that doesn’t say something in itself, Todd, that these hardcore activists who don’t believe there should be any religion in public life are now representing the school district.

“One of the judges goes at length to explain that he believed the way Coach Joe was praying was inappropriate,” he added.

“It’s not right for judges to tell us what is the proper way to pray or not pray. That’s up to us. That’s up to Coach Joe. And it’s not for judges to tell us what’s appropriate or not appropriate.“

Kennedy told Starnes he knew where he stood in the fight.

“I spent 20 years in the Marine Corps, you know, supporting and defending the Constitution so everybody has the right, even if I personally don’t agree with it,” Kennedy said.

“But the Constitution and the rights of all Americans apply to all Americans. So the same, you know, rights that give them the liberty to take a knee in protest for injustices even at the Olympics now. I mean, they could do that, but I can’t. I’m a high school football coach. I can’t even take a knee for 10 seconds and say ‘thanks’ to the God who created me. There’s something seriously wrong with the country right now.”

Some free speech is more equal than others, apparently. What a surprise.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Video: Pilot Dedicates His Last Flight to 13 US Service Members Killed in Afghanistan, Passengers Cheer

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It was the last mass casualty event during our 20-year war in Afghanistan — 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide attack at the Kabul airport, along with more than 160 Afghans.

The attack shook the United States and our allies to the core, particularly coming after the chaotic fall of the country to the Taliban.

While there may be no way to sufficiently honor those who paid the ultimate price during the Aug. 26 bombing, an unknown pilot is making the rounds on TikTok and Facebook for his fitting dedication to our heroes.

The video was posted to Facebook by Ryan Fournier, the founder of Students for Trump. However, it appears to have originated on TikTok, where it was uploaded by @roballnic1.

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While the details surrounding the video are scanty — where and when it was recorded, who recorded it, who the pilot was — it’s the type of video that would be difficult to fake unless you have a spare Boeing 737 hanging around.

What is clear from the video is that the pilot begins by saying, “We’re heading down to Houston, it should take us two hours and 27 minutes. The weather’s good, weather’s good, the ride should be good.”

As he was saying that, however, he was holding up a tablet with the pictures of some of the 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor from the Kabul bombing.

“I’ve got six more days left here at Southwest Airlines, I have to retire because I’m 65 years old,” he said to applause.

“I’ll keep flying. And every time I fly now, I want to dedicate our flight and my trip to the 13 senseless losses of soldiers, sailors, Marines,” he continued.

“Men and women. My brother Marines, my sister Marines.”

This elicited a “hoo-rah” from the cabin.

“Everybody, just remember them,” he added. “And I don’t care who you hated or who you liked in the last election. What happened was just wrong.”

This got some assent from the cabin, too. He finished the preflight speech by saying, “We’ll get going. Smiles, everybody. And … remember the 13.”

With that, the pilot got a round of applause.



While the text overlaid on the original TikTok video said this was the pilot’s last flight, there’s no evidence of that in the video or in other reports. Given that he said he had six days left with the company and that “I’ll keep flying,” this seems unlikely.

However, the video also seems equally unlikely to be fakery.

It’s difficult to say that the deaths of 13 American service members in a suicide attack carried out by a branch of the Islamic State group could get lost in the shuffle, per se. However, there was so much senseless tragedy surrounding the fall of Afghanistan and our hasty withdrawal from the country that it was almost an afterthought. The whole affair stunned the nation and the world.

It’s not as if the men and women who were killed in the attack didn’t have their lives celebrated. This was the hometown welcome for Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum in Jackson, Wyoming:

However, it’s acts like these that go viral — and like it or not, social media status is currency these days.

This pilot, whoever he may be, made sure to spend that currency in the best way possible.

We may never know who he was. Rest assured, however, plenty of people will remember what he said.

If you’re going to mark one of your last flights piloting a commercial jet in a profound way, it’s hard to think of how you could do it better than this. Our hats are off to you, sir.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

It was the last mass casualty event during our 20-year war in Afghanistan — 13 U.S. service members killed in a suicide attack at the Kabul airport, along with more than 160 Afghans. The attack shook the United States and our allies to the core, particularly coming after the chaotic fall of the country to the Taliban. While there may be no way to sufficiently honor those who paid the ultimate price during the Aug. 26 bombing, an unknown pilot is making the rounds on TikTok and Facebook for his fitting dedication to our heroes. The video was posted to Facebook by Ryan Fournier, the founder of Students for Trump. However, it appears to have originated on TikTok, where it was uploaded by @roballnic1. While the details surrounding the video are scanty — where and when it was recorded, who recorded it, who the pilot was — it’s the type of video that would be difficult to fake unless you have a spare Boeing 737 hanging around. What is clear from the video is that the pilot begins by saying, “We’re heading down to Houston, it should take us two hours and 27 minutes. The weather’s good, weather’s good, the ride should be good.” As he was saying that, however, he was holding up a tablet with the pictures of some of the 11 Marines, one soldier and one sailor from the Kabul bombing. “I’ve got six more days left here at Southwest Airlines, I have to retire because I’m 65 years old,” he said to applause. “I’ll keep flying. And every time I fly now, I want to dedicate our flight and my trip to the 13 senseless losses of soldiers, sailors, Marines,” he continued. “Men and women. My brother Marines, my sister Marines.” This elicited a “hoo-rah” from…

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FDA Official Says Feds Need to Shoot Black Americans with Blow Darts Filled with COVID Vaccine: Report

Western Journal

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A Food and Drug Administration official was caught on tape seemingly suggesting black Americans who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine should be shot with blow darts to get inoculated — while also suggesting some “Amazonians” could “get it done” for them.

This revelation came from Part Two of a Project Veritas exposé about the vaccine that was released this week.



In the footage, a man identified as FDA economist Taylor Lee, spoke to an undercover journalist from the organization, mentioning several times that he was so frustrated with the black community’s reluctance that his solution would be to forcibly administer the shot.

Although he appeared to be speaking tongue-in-cheek, his remarks were disturbing, condescending and culturally insensitive.

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Lee suggested using this method that is insulting to black Americans as it is often employed against animals and also takes a dig at some indigenous people in South America known for hunting that way.

“I remember reading about how with COVID [vaccine] trials, they were having an issue recruiting African-American people and it was because of a different medication the government tried to do that was specifically designed to kill African Americans,” Lee pointed out.

When the undercover journalist off-camera suggested he couldn’t blame them for their mistrust after that, Lee replied, “I can’t, but at the same time, like, blow dart,” he concluded. “That’s where we’re going.”

Lee went on to explain that he felt the Johnson & Johnson version of the vaccine would do well for the purpose.

“Like, go to the unvaccinated, and blow it into them — blow dart it into them. That’s where I am at this point,” Lee said.

When the Project Veritas journalist asked him for a broader strategy to get minorities to take the shot, Lee continued with his same bizarre proposal, adding they’d have to “post video campaigns about doing it to the whites first” so they couldn’t be charged with racism.

“We’ll have to hire some Amazonians first because they’ll get it done,” Lee added. The official then doubled down on this angle in what appeared to be footage from another conversation between the undercover journalist and Lee.

“Want to see how fast I get an Amazon rainforest tribe out here?” Lee said, continuing with his insensitive generalizations that are normally taboo in polite society.

While it’s true this is one man’s opinion in what he likely thought was a casual social setting, it does point to a certain mindset from an FDA insider that is as dangerous as it is shocking.

The idea that Lee would suggest force as an appropriate method to achieve universal vaccination isn’t far-fetched considering what’s happening in the world lately.

President Joe Biden warned that his “patience” was “wearing thin” for the unvaccinated when he addressed the nation and announced a sweeping vaccine mandate for millions of Americans.

It’s also no laughing matter considering the frightening authoritarian crackdown that has turned Australia into a police state — and while the country is physically a world away, it seems philosophically adjacent to the kind of mindset an FDA employee is expressing.

It’s disturbing to witness the way Lee so casually speaks about his burning desire to forcibly vaccinate people as an insider at the agency responsible for keeping Americans safe from harmful substances, and even more so as he speaks about black and minority populations.

Project Veritas is doing a service to America by exposing the dark underbelly of these organizations, but it’s difficult to watch knowing that Lee is just one man exposed among the plethora of operatives who think like him still embedded in the deep state.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

A Food and Drug Administration official was caught on tape seemingly suggesting black Americans who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine should be shot with blow darts to get inoculated — while also suggesting some “Amazonians” could “get it done” for them. This revelation came from Part Two of a Project Veritas exposé about the vaccine that was released this week. https://youtu.be/4oWWcqGk1m4 In the footage, a man identified as FDA economist Taylor Lee, spoke to an undercover journalist from the organization, mentioning several times that he was so frustrated with the black community’s reluctance that his solution would be to forcibly administer the shot. Although he appeared to be speaking tongue-in-cheek, his remarks were disturbing, condescending and culturally insensitive. Lee suggested using this method that is insulting to black Americans as it is often employed against animals and also takes a dig at some indigenous people in South America known for hunting that way. “I remember reading about how with COVID [vaccine] trials, they were having an issue recruiting African-American people and it was because of a different medication the government tried to do that was specifically designed to kill African Americans,” Lee pointed out. When the undercover journalist off-camera suggested he couldn’t blame them for their mistrust after that, Lee replied, “I can’t, but at the same time, like, blow dart,” he concluded. “That’s where we’re going.” Lee went on to explain that he felt the Johnson & Johnson version of the vaccine would do well for the purpose. “Like, go to the unvaccinated, and blow it into them — blow dart it into them. That’s where I am at this point,” Lee said. When the Project Veritas journalist asked him for a broader strategy to get minorities to take the shot, Lee continued with his same…

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