(Republican Insider) – When you think about sports journalism, Sports Illustrated is often viewed as the gold standard, especially since it has become known for having talented writers since it was created back in 1954. One of those writers is Greg Bishop.
However, it seems that Bishop’s talents are limited to the wide world of sports, because his venture into politics, the Constitution, and the law, is not going over so well with users on Twitter.
According to a report from WND, “In a tweet promoting his lengthy story on fired high school football coach Joe Kennedy’s prayer case in the Supreme Court, Bishop called the expected upcoming ruling in Kennedy’s favor ‘an erosion of a bedrock of American democracy.'”
“Bishop wrote that after having conducted a brief prayer on the field after every game for eight seasons, the decision to engage in a legal battle after the district told him to stop praying was ‘theatrics’ and a ‘performative… plea for attention,'” WND reported.
SCOTUS will soon rule on the case of a public school football coach who wants to pray on-field after games.@GregBishopSI on Joe Kennedy, the machine backing him and the expected result: a win for Kennedy and an erosion of a bedrock of American democracy: https://t.co/H8tEoQauZh pic.twitter.com/XCmjK0qQsO
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 13, 2022
“Kennedy’s case, the sports writer said, became a ‘culture-war cudgel,’ and the coach himself became “=’a human embodiment of a country that’s deeply divided; a religious movement that’s surging with momentum, even as organized religion becomes increasingly less popular; and, most of all, a powerful right-wing machine many say is employing a timeless division tactic: us vs. them,'” the report said.
“To them, he’s a hero, David slaying an anti-faith Goliath,” Bishop went on to write. “To others, he’s a sledgehammer aimed at a bedrock of democracy: the separation of church and state.”
Of course, the whole idea of the separation of church and state comes from the use of the language by former President Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury Baptists. However, an examination of the Constitution reveals the phrase is nowhere to be found in the founding document.
It’s critical, if we want to properly interpret what Jefferson and other founders thought of this topic, to interpret it according to its original intent. The Founders explained the purpose of the First Amendment in the Federalist Papers, which clearly state that it protects religious worship from government interference, and it goes on to simply that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof from establishing a law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
What this means is that the federal government cannot choose a particular religion — or more specifically at the time, a Christian denomination — to be an official one for the country. State and local governments were allowed to do so, and if you examine many state Constitutions, that’s just what they did.
“Bishop dives deeper, parroting the Democratic Party’s slanderous narrative that Kennedy represents ‘the other side’ of the country’s sharp divide, whose members – according to four ‘scholars’ with whom he consulted – are best described as ‘white Christian nationalists,'” the WND report said.
“They believe America was created by a preeminence of people like themselves and should always have laws in place that reflect America’s origins,” Bishop wrote in the piece.
Sen. Jim Lankford, a Republican from Oklahoma, was one of the many Twitter users who took issue with Bishop’s post.
“Actually, the Court affirming Coach Kennedy’s right to live his faith upholds the bedrock of our democracy – it doesn’t erode it,” he responded.
Jay Feely, former placekicker in the NFL posted, “Disappointing article Greg. I knelt and prayed after every game I played in the NFL. It was my way of publicly thanking god. With all the challenges in today’s society we should encourage faith not discourage.”
“Freedom OF religion is very different than freedom FROM religion,” he added.
“One of the scholars Bishop cites in his article is Rachel Laser, the lead lawyer for the Bremerton School District in the Kennedy case. Laser also happens to be the president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which was founded in 1947 in reaction to Supreme Court’s ruling in Everson v. Board of Education that spending tax funds to bus children to religious schools did not breach the First Amendment,” WND reported.
Laser then claimed that both sides involved in the culture war push for their own version of “rights.”
“But Laser makes a critical distinction in how they push,” the sports writer goes on to say. “One side uses facts, she says. The other, she believes, distorts them. (Four scholars agreed.)”
Bishop lands on informing his readers that despite the “white Christian majority” shrinking, “the Christian conservative base was reinvigorated and emboldened over the past seven years, anyway.”
“That owes mostly to Donald Trump’s presidency, his proposed Muslim ban and anti-immigration stances, his border wall and inciting rhetoric; and his appointments of religious conservatives to the judiciary’s most powerful positions,” Bishop wrote.
This guy could not be more wrong.
On Tuesday, Kennedy, along with his lawyer, Jeremy Dys of First Liberty Instituted, posted their own response to the story in Sports Illustrated.
They made it clear they did not have personal issues with Bishop but with the editors of the magazine, especially for the headline “When Faith and Football Teamed Up Against American Democracy.”
The subheading for the article read: “The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the case of a football coach at a public high school who was told he wasn’t allowed to pray on the field in front of players. The expected result is a win for the coach—and the further erosion of the separation between church and state.”
Copyright 2022. RepublicanInsider.org