Is Justice Truly Being Served?

Join us today for another insightful blog from our Founder and President, Carl Kerby.
As I was watching the news the other day, I saw an interesting report. The Supreme Court is now considering the case of football coach, Joseph A. Kennedy, from Bremerton, Washington, who was fired because he prayed at the 50-yard line of the football field.

A Case in Point

One comment that caught my attention right away was from the Supreme Court Justice, Elena Kagan.
"We're worried that the students will feel, ‘He gets to put me into a football game, or not,’" Kagan said, intoning how the school might have put it. "He gets to give me an A in math class, or not. And this is a kind of coercion that's improper for 16-year-olds."1
After hearing Elana Kagan’s comment though, I did some more digging into the facts of the case about Coach Kennedy. What I found is that the coach did not require the students to pray. He went to the 50-yard line alone, and students who wished to join him did so of their own volition.
As for the claims that he might not put them in the game if they didn’t pray, that’s total bunk as well. The fact is, two of the student captains on his team who play most of every game did not participate in the postgame midfield prayers. So, there’s no evidence of harm to any student who didn’t participate in the 10-15 second prayer for the purpose of giving God the glory for the game. (By the way, the coach was inspired to develop this practice after watching the 2007 movie, Facing the Giants.)

Where’s the Justice?

This case and its approach made me wonder that if coercion is such a problem in the public school system, then why is the Supreme Court not getting more actively involved in the coercion taking place against Christians and conservatives in the schools?
My thoughts then went immediately to the hundreds of Christian students that have come up to me after a meeting and told me about the experiences they’ve had in their public school or university with teachers mocking and ridiculing them for their faith and/or conservative values. One of the most common examples these students have told me about takes place on the first day in their class. The professor will ask, “Are there any Christians in here today?” If anyone raises their hand, they will get one of the following three responses.

1. “Pick your books up and get out of here. I’m not going to waste my time on you.”
2. “We’ll see about that by the time this semester is over.”
3. “Hmmm!“ And then the rest of their time in that class is a nightmare.
As a matter of fact, my own daughter—while starting classes for her master’s degree—called me after her very first English class to tell me that if the professor knew that she was my daughter, that she would fail her regardless of the work that she did. This professor spent the entire duration of the first class of the semester attacking creationists. You can’t tell me there was no coercion there!
But those are just hear-say stories, right”? Are there any documented cases showing professors/teachers coercing students to doubt their faith or conservative values? The answer is yes!
In Boca Raton, Florida, a Florida Atlantic University (FAU) professor, Dr. Deandre Poole, conducted a classroom exercise where he had the students write the name “Jesus” on a sheet of paper, place it on the ground, and then stomp on it. There’s no coercion going on here, right?
I first heard this account when I was speaking to a group of youth at Calvary Chapel, Boca Raton. After I finished my presentation, a line of students who wanted to speak with me formed, extending the length of the gym. The third or fourth student in line was a young man who told me that this had happened to him in Dr. Poole’s class. (On a side note, it was very discouraging to also hear from this group that there were Christian students who didn’t take a stand and refuse to participate in this act of disrespect to our Lord and Savior. Could they have felt, "He gets to pass or fail me in this course," and if so, wouldn't that be "improper and coercive  and evidence of harm" for college students?)
Another student was actually suspended from this class for NOT participating in this exercise. It’s reported that this student was a Mormon and wouldn’t participate after he stated, “Anytime you stomp on something, it shows that you believe that something has no value. So, if you were to stomp on the word, Jesus, it says that the word has no value,”2 Fortunately, the Liberty Institute got involved and had this young man reinstated in the same class under a different professor and made sure all the derogatory academic charges against him were removed from his records.

This same young man also told me of another English professor at FAU who, during one of his class periods, had the students close their books as he walked around to sit on the front of his desk. He then proceeded to tell them, “I’m rich, and I don’t need this job. I have a big house, and I have a great car. The only reason I’m here is to destroy Christianity!”

There’s no coercion there either, right? You can very easily find news reports of the “stomp on Jesus” account, but I haven’t found any for this second professor. For whatever reason, that event didn’t rise to the level of complaints that the first one did.

Fair and Impartial?

If the above examples aren’t enough to convince you that coercion is taking place in the classroom, here’s an example—one of hundreds, without a doubt—that shows how those with conservative values, even if they’re not Christians, are being negatively targeted by the system.

Headline: Teacher Threatens to Kick Out Student with Trump 2020 Flag in Virtual Background

“A high school chemistry teacher in Colusa, California, told a student that he would be kicked out of class if he didn't remove the Trump 2020 flag from his virtual learning background.”3
If Justice Kagan is truly concerned about coercion, I’d ask that she address it in cases like these as well. 
Stay Bold!
1To read this article in full, go to https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2022/04/25/supreme-court-school-prayer-coach/7438478001/
2Read the full account at https://www.gracecentered.com/student-suspended-refusal-stomp-word-jesus.htm
https://link.rforh.com/trumpflag 
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