Accompanied by gongs, robes and burning incense, the leader of The Satanic Temple of Seattle is planning to step onto a local football field on Thursday night to opine on, as she phrased it, “the theme of justice and equal religious liberty for all.”
Lilith Starr has crafted and publicized these plans in the wake of what she believes to be Bremerton High School’s fall-long violation of the First Amendment, as it has allowed assistant football coach Joe Kennedy to conduct prayers at the 50-yard line following his team’s home games. She was initially invited by Bremerton’s senior class president Abe Bartlett, who “called it an effort to get the school district to clarify its policy.”
While Kennedy was ordered to close up shop on the midfield religious expression over a month ago, he has done just the opposite, continuing to kneel and pray after the final whistle, joined by others who played in or attended the game. In just a few weeks, this Western Washington fight for “religious freedom” has attracted attention nationwide. Just shy of 50 members of congress have declared their support for the assistant coach.
Enter Starr, who ― permission granted or not ― will claim her spot on the gridiron after Thursday’s contest, arguing that “by not blocking Kennedy from praying, the district has opened the football field as an open forum for religious expression that should be open to all religious groups,” according to local newspaper the Kitsap Sun.
And so Starr planned to take advantage of that “open forum,” pointedly pairing her satanic invocation with Kennedy’s prayer circle.
Facing what was effectively a threat to summon the devil, the school district announced Wednesday that it would be placing Kennedy on “paid administrative leave” for his “refusal to comply with the District’s ... directives that he refrain from engaging in overt, public religious displays on the football field while on duty as coach.”
Starr has yet to publicly cancel her invocation plans in the wake of Kennedy’s forced leave, so as of now, she seems to still be set on making an appearance under the Thursday night lights. Happy Halloween weekend, y’all.
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