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Sports Illustrated (SI) was blasted Monday for what many Twitter users considered a biased take on an upcoming Supreme Court case on religious freedom.
The sports magazine promoted an article on its Twitter account penned by Greg Bishop that discussed the case involving high school football coach Joe Kennedy’s right to pray on the field after a game. Although the case has yet to be ruled on, Sports Illustrated warned that a ruling in favor of Kennedy would be “an erosion of a bedrock of American democracy.”
“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,” the post read.
The tweet echoed the claim in Bishop’s piece which opened, “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.”
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Several Twitter accounts called out this description as “nonsense” and a terrible take on the Supreme Court from the sports magazine.
The Federalist Editor-in-Chief Mollie Hemingway tweeted, “’Freedom of religion is both the thing on which the country is founded upon and a threat to democracy’ is sure a take.”
Attorney Casey Mattox wrote, “Actually, no. It is not an erosion of a bedrock of democracy if the government can’t punish people for praying. This is a bad take.”
Rep. Chip Roy’s, R-Texas, communications director Nate Madden tweeted, “SI coming out swinging against the First Amendment and public prayer as erosion of the ‘bedrock of democracy’ is certainly a choice…”
“Tell me you’ve never read the Constitution without telling me you’ve never read the Constitution,” Grabien founder Tom Elliot wrote.
Washington Examiner magazine managing editor Jay Caruso quoted from the opening of the article and dubbed it “Total nonsense.”
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The case Kennedy v. Bremerton School District is expected to be handed down sometime in June. Although the Supreme Court has blocked cases involving prayers in the past, many have speculated that the now 6-3 conservative majority could rule in Kennedy’s favor.
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Since the announcement that the Supreme Court would take up the case in April, other liberal media outlets have expressed concerns that a ruling for Kennedy could lead to the end of “the separation of church and state”, a concept not envisioned by the founders at the time of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.