Press Release

ADL Condemns Supreme Court Decision Undermining Separation of Church and State

New York, NY, June 27, 2022 ... ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) is deeply disturbed by today's Supreme Court decision undermining the separation of church and state enshrined in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. 

“This is a significant change in how we approach prayer in public schools, and one that will have a negative impact in particular on students of marginalized faiths and non-religious students,” said Rachel Robbins, Chair of ADL’s Civil Rights Committee. “Our public schools should be welcoming and inclusive environments for all students, regardless of faith or belief, both in the classroom and in secular extra-curricular activities. Unfortunately, this ruling will open the door to organized prayer in schools and hinder future challenges to religiously coercive activity.”

In its 6-3 ruling in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, the Court said that a public high school football coach who was fired for refusing to stop kneeling in prayer at the football field's 50-yard line immediately following every game was discriminated against because of his religion. 

The coach started doing this after the school district directed him to stop leading his team in pre- and post-game prayer, which the coach had done for eight years prior. In practice, this creates an environment where students who do not participate – whether because they do not share the same religious beliefs or are not religious at all – risk exclusion, harassment, and bullying.

ADL joined 33 other religious organizations, religious denominations, and local clergy on an amicus brief in this case. 

ADL is the leading anti-hate organization in the world. Founded in 1913, its timeless mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all.” Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of antisemitism and bias, using innovation and partnerships to drive impact. A global leader in combating antisemitism, countering extremism and battling bigotry wherever and whenever it happens, ADL works to protect democracy and ensure a just and inclusive society for all.