Focus on the Family President Jim Daly defended Joe Kennedy, a former high school football coach in Washington State who used to lead his players in prayer until he was fired for doing so. Kennedy sued, but lost his case at the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Daly defended Kennedy’s promotion of Christianity to children on CNB News by saying that he had been an orphan who looked up to his coach:
I think this is one of those watershed moments. I mean it’s egregious that the government would rule against a coach who’s trying to do all he can do to help those boys. And I was one of those boys back when I was 15 who had no father like 17.4 million other young girls and boys in the country today.
So it was pivotal for me to have a coach that taught me character, and I think what Coach Joe is doing is wonderful. And the fact that he’s just going to the middle of the field to thank God that his players are kept safe. I think for the 9th Circuit Court to shut him down and for the school to fire him is egregious.
Daly mentioned the Jefferson Letter that calls for the separation of church and state, which he didn’t not think applied to Kennedy who was acting an employee of the state when he led students in prayer on state grounds (public school football stadium).
Daly tried to paint Kennedy as a man simply thanking God for keeping his players safe.
Daly recalled how he had a coach who took an interest in him “as an orphan kid,” and paid for him to go to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp where Daly was converted to Christianity.
Daly said he was “put out” with the ACLU and others (that support separation of church and state) who would have rather seen him with a heroin needle in his arm or having a premarital affair or an out-of-wedlock baby.
Daly said that coaches (state employees) who believe in Christianity should be allowed to influence children because 17 million kids don’t have dads at home.