Info

First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, three times a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
2019
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June


All Episodes
Archives
Now displaying: January, 2019
Jan 4, 2019

Former NFL players, Steve Largent and Chad Hennings along with two Seattle high school coaches filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of Coach Kennedy’s right to take a knee after games. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


You may be familiar with Coach Joe Kennedy, the high school football coach at Bremerton High School who was fired for taking a knee in silent prayer after the game. Recently, he received support from a few other football players and coaches.

First, Steve Largent, a retired Seattle Seahawk and Hall of Famer, and Chad Hennings, three-time Super Bowl champion with the Cowboys, explain to the court how football coaches were a positive influence on their lives, contending that Bremerton’s actions restrict free speech and impair coaches’ ability to serve as role models and mentors to their students.

Hall of famer or not, we should all seek to defend the right to free speech. It’s central to our American identity as a diverse, pluralistic society, where we foster the free exchange of ideas.

Second, from two football coaches at Garfield High School in Seattle.  These coaches gained national media attention by joining their team in kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. In their friend-of-the-court brief, the coaches ask the court to affirm that the First Amendment protects the rights of public employees—including football coaches—to private expression.

If the Constitution protects the right of a football coach to kneel to protest injustice, it certainly protects the right of Coach Kennedy to kneel in prayer.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

Jan 2, 2019

Government neutrality is supposed to prevent the government from favoring one form of speech over another. It does not give government officials the right to censor or scrub out all religious content from the public square. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


You may often hear me say that the First Amendment requires government agencies to be neutraltoward private, religious speech.  But, what does that mean?

Some take the position that when the speech of a private person or organization enters a public forum, the government must ensure that all speech within such a forum be neutral, censored and scrubbed of any religious content.  But, that is not neutrality and, when a government does that, it violates the First Amendment. 

Neutrality actually means that the government will neither favor, nor disfavor particular viewpoints expressed in speech.  It means that the government will not promote a particular point of view, nor censor it.  It means that government respects the speech of its citizens, allowing the exchange of ideas through divergent viewpoints, even those viewpoints with which those sitting in government may disagree.

So, if a school district has a flyer distribution program that allows local organizations to distribute information to the parents of its students, it is not required to make sure those flyers present a neutral message.  The school board wouldn’t be neutral if it did.  As the Supreme Court has repeatedly held, “speech discussing otherwise permissible subjects cannot be excluded from a limited public forum on the ground that the subject is discussed from a religious viewpoint.”

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

1