‘Every Word Of This Is False’: Ted Cruz Rips Ilhan Omar’s Claims About Praying Football Coach SCOTUS Ruling

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Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz blasted Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar lamenting the Supreme Court ruling in favor of the high school football coach fired for praying.

The Court ruled 6-3 in favor of former high school football coach Joseph Kennedy who was fired by the Bremerton School District for repeatedly praying on the 50-yard line after the games. The majority opinion, authored by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, said the district violated the Free Speech and Free Exercise clauses of the First Amendment.

Omar claimed the ruling allows for school administrators and faculty to “pressure students” to participate in prayer, though the Court opinion said Kennedy prayed individually on the field.

“The Supreme Court just ruled that public school teachers can pressure students to join in prayer at public school events but can also retaliate against those who don’t join in,” she tweeted. “Religious freedom is dead in America.”

“Every word of this is false,” Cruz replied.

The Court ruled that the Constitution established “mutual respect and tolerance” for both religious and secular practices on public grounds. Gorsuch stated that the students did not engage in prayer with Kennedy and therefore concluded that the school district intentionally prohibited a religious practice. (RELATED: Praying  Football Coach Will Sue Washington School District For Refusing To Let Him Pray)

“Respect for religious expressions is indispensable to life in a free and diverse Republic,” the ruling said. “Here, a government entity sought to punish an individual for engaging in a personal religious observance, based on a mistaken view that it has a duty to suppress religious observances even as it allows comparable secular speech. The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination.”

Justices John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh joined Gorsuch in filing the majority opinion. Associate Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan filed a dissenting opinion.

In 2015, Kennedy was initially reprimanded by the district for his private prayers and was later fired for continuing his religious practices on the field. He first filed suit in 2016 with the First Liberty Institute as his legal counsel, then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, who sided with the Bremerton School District.

The First Liberty Institute reported that Superintendent Aaron Leavell informed Kennedy that the district was investigating actions for a potential violation of the “Religious-Related Activities and Practices” policy. The school acknowledged that the coach has “not actively encouraged, or required, participation.”

Kennedy celebrated the ruling exclaiming that the “First Amendment is live and well,” and that constitutional rights apply to everyone regardless of their religion.

“It just shows that it doesn’t matter what your faith is or if you have no faith,” he said. “It just proves that this is America and the First Amendment applies and no one should have to worry about just because you want to thank God, you can do it now and that’s just an awesome thing for everybody.”