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Seattle Satanists had been invited to protest Bremerton coach’s postgame prayers

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Bremerton High School assistant football coach Joe Kennedy was told by the district not to pray with players after the game because it's a violation of church and state.

SEATTLE (AP) — A student leader at a Washington state high school says he invited a self-described group of Seattle Satanists to protest a Christian football coach’s postgame prayers.

Bremerton High School senior class President Abe Bartlett says he was one of a few students who invited The Satanic Temple of Seattle to attend Thursday’s game.

He called it an effort to get the school district to clarify its policy: While officials last month asked assistant coach Joe Kennedy to stop praying at the 50-yard line, he has continued the practice.

The Satanic Temple wants to hold an invocation on the field. The group says the district, by tolerating Kennedy’s actions, has created a forum for religious expression that should be open to all groups.

On Wednesday night, after news broke that the school district had placed Kennedy on paid administrative leave, a spokeswoman for the Satanists said they don’t plan to perform the ceremony on the field since the coach will not be saying prayers on the field at the game  Friday night.

Kennedy’s lawyers, who are with the Texas-based Liberty Institute, say allowing Kennedy to pray silently doesn’t create a public forum.