Thank you for your editorial regarding Bremerton assistant football coach Joe Kennedy (who was placed on leave this week for praying on the field after games) and the issue of state-sponsored religious activities [“Freedom compromised with coach’s prayers,” Opinion, Oct. 29].
The reasons why our Constitution strikes its specific balance often get overlooked in the heat of the moment by those who feel their rights are being constrained. They need to step back and understand that our Constitution was designed to facilitate a pluralistic society and protect the rights of all citizens, not merely those who follow the majority religion. The rules are there for a reason, and complaints that this activity is “voluntary” or “doesn’t hurt anyone” miss the point.
The three clauses of the First Amendment each serve their purposes, as elucidated by a long history of constitutional jurisprudence. Each clause is necessary to provide stability to the whole.
Despite the claims of religious conservatives to the contrary, our essential rights of freedom of speech and free exercise of religion are not diminished by the application of the Establishment Clause. No right is absolute under all circumstances. Taking a job as a public employee is a voluntary career choice and it comes with certain conditions.
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People whose private religious views are incompatible with those conditions are free to pursue other lines of employment.
Steven Eakman, Seattle