Washington coach prays after football game, defying orders

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) A Washington coach who was told by district officials to stop leading prayers after games went ahead with a prayer at the 50-yard line after a weekend game.

The Kitsap Sun reports (http://goo.gl/HFwMfD) Bremerton High assistant coach Joe Kennedy knelt as his players left the field and prayed on Friday. Players from the other team and others joined him.

It's unclear what the district will do. Messages left the district's attorney as well as district officials were not immediately returned Sunday.

Superintendent Aaron Leavell has said Kennedy's long-standing practice runs counter to the constitutional mandate for separation of church and state. He said in a statement before the game that staff must refrain from religious expression while on duty.

Kennedy's law firm, Texas-based firm Liberty Institute, says the district has no right to ban the coach from personally praying. They say he didn't encourage or discourage students from participating.

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Information from: Kitsap Sun, http://www.kitsapsun.com/

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