Consider The Implications Had Kennedy Lost

In Kennedy v Bremerton, the Bremerton, WA School District argued that, were Coach Kennedy allowed to go to the 50 yard line to pray after games, student-athletes might feel pressured to join him for fear of losing playing time etc.

On that rationale, why not ban Coach Kennedy from going to church? After all, if, in the minds of some students, playing time is potentially linked to joining Kennedy for prayer then how much more might playing time be connected to joining Kennedy at church?

The turning point here and Bremerton’s leverage was the potential subjective experience of the student. After all, no one demonstrated that any student suffered any adverse consequences from Kennedy’s post-game prayer. The use of potential subjective experience as a control upon religious liberty and free speech is what happens when we give up objective reality in favor of subjectivism.

Consider what actually happened. Did Kennedy pressure students to join him? No. Does Kennedy’s post-game prayer constitute the state-establishment of religion? No. Is there any objective evidence that anyone’s civil liberties were ill affected by Kennedy’s post-game prayer? No.

Our civil liberties, including religious liberty and the exercise of free speech, are connected to a firm grasp on objective reality and they are weakened by a turn to subjectivism.

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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3 comments

  1. Glad that logic prevailed. Unbelievers trying to suppress prayer is nothing new. The narrative in Daniel chapter 6 hits close to home.

  2. If a school district banned a coach from going to church on the theory that his players would be pressured to attend church with him, the court would have ruled 9-0 in favor of Kennedy. This is clear if you look at the entire scope of the court’s decisions on religious liberty rather than the split decisions.

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