Home Living Today Commentary Matt Walsh: Kneeling to honor God is offensive but kneeling to protest America is heroic

Matt Walsh: Kneeling to honor God is offensive but kneeling to protest America is heroic

4 min read

This is insane. I feel like I start every new post that way, but there is just so much insanity in our culture. Here’s the latest: a federal appeals court ruled against a high school football coach who was suspended for kneeling in prayer after games. His First Amendment rights were not violated, they declared, because the act of silently kneeling on a football field is oppressive to the people forced to witness it. The coach “took advantage of his position to impress his views upon the impressionable and captive minds before him.”


Impress his views? Did he force them to pray beside him? Did he threaten to bench the starting quarterback if he didn’t profess Jesus Christ his Lord and savior? Or did he simply kneel and pray?

If the slightest expression of personal spiritual devotion by a public employee is not allowed, does that mean orthodox Jewish teachers should be prohibited from wearing a yarmulke at work? Would the donning of a religious skullcap be tantamount to forcing Judaism on unsuspecting students? Perhaps we’ll get there eventually as we slide down this slope.

Of course, the argument is made that the people forced to witness this vulgar act of religious exhibitionism are the ones who’ve had their First Amendment rights infringed upon. This would be a great argument if only there was anything in the First Amendment guaranteeing our right to never see, hear, or otherwise encounter anyone else’s religious expression. But the First Amendment contains no such guarantee. Nor does it prohibit public employees from praying “in view of students and parents.” In fact, all it does is grant religious liberty to all citizens — be they public employees or private — and it states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

This coach is not Congress. He’s not even a congressman. And by saying a prayer he has not made any laws. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the Schoolhouse Rock episode about how a bill becomes a law, but I’m pretty sure that a football coach can’t establish a state religion by kneeling on the grass.

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