Think twice before publicly mutilating, defacing, defiling, burning, or trampling upon the Washington State flag.
It is a crime in Washington. Yes that is right, the Revised Code of Washington prohibits pretty much doing anything bad to the state flag.1 This law is pretty surprising to me because of how the use and sometimes abuse of governmental flags are viewed to be protected expressive conduct.
This state law directly conflicts with a couple of cases that uphold the right to use government flags to convey speech.
It is common for athletes at all levels to offer a prayer or to give thanks to God. Sometimes coaches pray too.
But is it constitutional for a public high school football coach pray on the 50 yard line after the game? I am going to argue that I think it is constitutional and not an establishment violation or a violation of church and state.
Early in the 2015 football season, the Bremerton School District started investigating the post-game practices of Bremerton High School Assistant Football Coach Joe Kennedy for possible violations of district policy. Mr. Kennedy prays before the game with students and coaching staff in the locker room and he prays “after games on the 50-yard line,” according to King5 News. In fact, sometimes players joined him (as can be seen from the video below). There are conflicting statements on whether Mr. Kennedy asked students to join him to pray after games.
Bremerton School District stated in a letter to Mr. Kennedy (available below) that his praying after football games violated “fundamental constitutional rights.”