Satanists from the Satanic Temple of Seattle were booed when they arrived at the high school football game where they were previously invited to deliver an invocation.

After they were welcomed to the game by Bremerton High School President Abe Bartlett, around 20 followers of the Satanic Temple of Seattle made an appearance outside the Bremerton High School football field. However, they were booed away by the crowd which shouted “Jesus” and held up crosses.

The Satanic Temple of Seattle had earlier promised to hold an invocation on the field if they were invited by any student or member of the staff. However, this time, there was an unusually heavy police presence that barred unauthorized personnel on to the field, and the cheerleaders had to take a more circuitous route, with all gates being locked or manned by security staff. The Satanists who arrived wearing black hoods found a charged crowd which repeatedly shook the metal fence and yelled at them to go away.

Controversy had erupted earlier when assistant coach Joe Kennedy found himself the subject of disciplinary action for praying on the 50-yard line at the end of every football game. Kennedy had been doing so since 2008, never forcing anyone to pray with him, but this came to the attention of the Bremerton school district only when a fellow-coach complimented him and the school administrators on the practice.

They then asked him to stop doing so on the field, telling him that he could pray in private instead. Kennedy sought legal representation and his lawyers, the Liberty Institute, maintained that this was a violation of the Civil Rights Act, under which employees cannot be discriminated against on the basis of religion. They stated that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution afforded him the legal right to pray, which also applied to students or anyone who wished to join him.

This caught the attention of the Satanists, who wanted the same right – to pray on the field. After they announced their willingness to come to the game and conduct a Satanic Invocation, Kennedy was put on paid administrative leave a day before the match, for praying at a previous game on October 16, in spite of directives to the contrary. Kennedy himself was present at the game, although in the stands, where he prayed. One of those who prayed with him, Randy Davis of the Christian Motorcycle Association – Good News Riders, said the country was built on the basis of religious freedom.

And the game? The Bremerton Knights beat the Sequim Wolves 27-20.

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