Former Washington State high school football coach Joe Kennedy lost his job in 2015, after he refused to stop taking a knee in prayer after the games.

Kennedy told Todd Starnes on "Starnes Country" on Fox Nation that he never forced any players to join him, and that he felt like he needed to thank God for calling him to coach.

After challenging his dismissal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals -- with the help of Texas-based First Liberty Institute -- Kennedy petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his case.

The high court ruled recently that they would not hear his case in the immediate future.

Justice Samuel Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said that the lower court's understanding of free speech rights of public school teachers is "troubling."

First Liberty's Jeremy Dys wrote in a Fox News column that the Supreme Court appeared to wonder whether the Ninth Circuit judges "really meant what they wrote."

“According to the Ninth Circuit,” Justice Alito observed, “public school teachers and coaches may be fired if they engage in any expression that the school does not like while they are on duty . . ..”  That alone should be troubling for any American. While school districts command much authority, as any employer might, over the lives of its teachers, it is not absolute. Even while within the gates of the school, teachers (and students) retain First Amendment freedoms.


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But, that’s not what the Ninth Circuit concluded. Rather, according to Justice Alito the appellate court “appears to regard teachers and coaches as being on duty at all times from the moment they report for work to the moment they depart, provided that they are within the eyesight of students.”

Kennedy told Starnes that he is perplexed at how it is somehow illegal for coaches to kneel in prayer to God, but acceptable to kneel in protest of the national anthem.

Kennedy said he is hopeful that his case will be properly adjudicated, and he and Starnes discussed how important a precedent it could set on the matter of public prayer.

"[It was] my call from God to come and serve," Kennedy said..

Watch more above, and click to subscribe to Fox Nation -- your home for "Starnes Country" and other exclusive Fox News programming.


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