Court refuses to take case on coach's team prayer

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a high school football coach who wants to bow his head and kneel during prayers led by his players despite a school district policy prohibiting it.

In an order Monday, the justices are ending Marcus Borden's fight against the East Brunswick, N.J., school district's policy that forbids him and other staff members from joining in student-led prayer. The federal appeals court in Philadelphia sided with the district.

The high court declined to weigh in on whether Borden's desire to bow his head silently and "take a knee" with his football players violates the Constitution's prohibition on government endorsement of religion. Borden says such gestures are secular.

The school district says Borden, the East Brunswick coach since 1983, had a long history of leading prayers before he was ordered to stop. The district says the issue is whether its policy is constitutional, not Borden's actions.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia agreed that the school district policy is constitutional, but the judges differed on what exactly the coach should do when his team prays.

The case is Borden v. School District of the Township of East Brunswick, 08-482.


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