Asher Ireland: Just as prayer can unite, it can also divide
Asher Ireland, current Israel Chair at Hillel for Utah, shares his views on the recent Supreme Court Ruling in Kennedy vs. Bremerton and its negative impact on religious liberty. This article was written and published for the Salt Lake Tribune
As a Jewish student growing up in northern Utah County, I was clearly a religious minority among my classmates, who were overwhelmingly active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I knew the protections guaranteed under the First Amendment’s free exercise and establishment clauses — reaffirmed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Santa Fe Independent School District vs. Doe and Engel vs. Vitale — protected me from requirements to attend or participate in prayer. I am deeply disturbed that the bedrock principle of separation of church and state is being eroded in the recent Supreme Court decision in Kennedy vs. Bremerton, which upheld the right of a high school football coach to lead his team in prayer on the field.