A New Jersey school board was within its rights to tell a football coach he cannot kneel and bow his head as his players have a student-led pregame prayer, a federal appeals court ruled yesterday. It was agreed that the East Brunswick Board of Education's policy barring school staff from joining in student-let prayer was constitutional.
What was agreed upon by both the school board and the federal appeals court, that the coach will be allowed to flog himself with knotted rope or tie himself to the goalposts as long as he didn't do it in a manner that invoked the alleged crucifixion of the Christian Christ or say any religious words or phrases.
He would also be allowed to put down a carpet and bow to the West, North or South, but not to the East which would indicate that he was showing a preference to the Muslim religious actions of bowing to the East at different times during the day.
The coach could also not eat unleavened bread or paint any red marks above certain lockers which could be construed to be an endorsement of the Jewish Passover.
He could also drive nails through his arms or legs, but not his hands or feet which clearly symbolize the Christian Crucifixion of those who believe in Jesus Christ.
While there was no clear opinion written about exactly what the coach should do, the written opinion of the court DID say that he is continuing to endorse religion when he bows his head during the pre-meal grace and takes a knee with his team in the locker room while they pray.
One Judge wondered what a coach in his position should do. "Surely he would not be required to keep his head erect or turn his back or stand and walk away. Any such requirement would evidence hostility to religion that no one would intend". Because of the separation of Church and State, school employees should avoid looking like they're endorsing religion in any way.
It was finally agreed that the coach could chant ancient chants while hopping from foot to foot and even beat on a hollow log which all agreed was not endorsing any particular religion. He could cry out loud, shedding real tears or could laugh hysterically which was also considered not endorsing any particular religion.
So, in short, the coach may hang himself upon the goal posts as long as his feet aren't crossed over each other; he could eat a white bread peanut butter and jelly sandwich and cry or laugh hysterically while dancing from foot to foot chanting unintelligible words as his team continued to have their pre-game student led prayer.
The school board was pleased that this issue was addressed although the coach's lawyer said he would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the case to clarify what he said was "murky law".
"I'm sure this isn't the last we've heard of this", said the head of the Board of Education as the meeting ended. "Things like this never go away, they just take other avenues in an attempt of the school employees to influence the students to lean toward one or another religion in defiance of the laws of the Separation of Church and State. "Those religious fanatics will find a way, they always do".