The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a football coach who conducted prayers in the 50-yard line.

You read it here first: This case may be a prelude to overturning the Supreme Court’s ban on prayer in schools, a decision that evangelicals have complained about since it was issued. As we have seen in the past week, this Court is indifferent to precedent. They are rightwing ideologues who want to redraw the well-understood rights, freedoms, and boundaries of American life. No one knows what to expect: Will they outlaw contraception? Will they outlaw same-sex relationships and marriage? Will they outlaw interracial marriage? Will they overturn Brown v. Board of Education? Will they restore the power to impose racial segregation to the states? The Trump three plus Alito, Thomas, and Roberts are a supermajority; they are appointed for life. They will do whatever they want, with no accountability.

Peter Greene writes that the Court has no understanding of the duties of a school official.

It has become increasingly clear—blindingly obvious—that this Court will always favor religious expression over all competing claims. Six justices have completely abandoned the Founding Fathers’ explicit belief in separation of church and state and their determination to avoid any “establishment” of religion.

Greene writes:

I am absolutely gobsmacked. I expected that SCOTUS would okay school prayer via Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. I did not expect that their decision would be based on a disconnecting themselves from reality. 

The result is here. I’ll walk you through the highlights (sputtering as I go). Sorry. I don’t have time to make this short.

This is the case of the football coach who wanted to pray at the 50 yard line after games, and when the district told him to stop, decided he’d get his fifteen minutes of holy fame out of it. Full summary here.

Justice Gorsuch wrote this one, and he’s in an alternate reality in the very first paragraph.Joseph Kennedy lost his job as a high school football coach because he knelt at midfield after games to offer a quiet prayer of thanks.

Nope. Joseph Kennedy decided not to put in for the job for another season.

Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters.

This line of reasoning will be followed throughout. If you’re on the clock, but can get away with dividing your attention, that counts as personal time. Not for the last time, Gorsuch and the berobed conservative activists of the court will demonstrate no understanding of how school jobs work. As a teacher, if I’m on my computer or phone while I’m supposed to be supervising students, I’m asking for trouble. And if I’m a coach or activity advisor, and my students have not officially left the building for home, then I had better be doing my job, which is keeping an eye on them.

What follows is a glowing version of Coach Kennedy’s history with the school, putting emphasis on how quiet and personal and totally not while performing his duties as a government employee Kennedy’s praying was. We will have to wait for the dissent to get the full story from this planet. What Gorsuch gets semi-right is that this practice stayed below the radar for a while, until Kennedy had expanded it enough that word got back to district officials, who had a church-and-state-separation freakout. 

But Kennedy had an epiphany driving home one night, and felt “compelled” to do the prayer, and send a big letter to the district, in which he offered to do the prayer quietly “while students were busy with other activities–whether heading to the locker room, boarding the bus, or perhaps singing the school fight song” which–no! The offer of “I’ll just slip a prayer in when I’m supposed to be doing my job” is not a great offer!

On October 16, “some members of the community” joined him and “this event spurred media coverage.” Well, yes– as the dissent points out, Kennedy spurred, courted, welcomed and recruited media coverage, as well as (not for the first time) participation from the other team. The district continued to put pressure on, feeling that to not do so would suggest they were endorsing a school prayer, and that their understanding of the Constitution would be that such an endorsement was wrong. How very old school of them.

The district noted in their evaluation that Kennedy failed to supervise students after games and failed to follow district policy regarding religious expression. Kennedy decided not to put in for the job for the coming year….

Please open the link and read Greene’s post in full. Will students now have to put up with teachers opening and closing their classes with a prayer?

We have a Supreme Court that will privilege every form of prayer, in every setting, and will allow those with religious convictions to discriminate against those who do not share their views.

Is theocracy the right word?

Thomas Jefferson must be rolling in his grave.