Marcus Borden, who has been the head football coach at East Brunswick High School since 1983, sued the district in 2005, saying its policy violated his rights to free speech and due process, as well as to academic freedom and freedom of association.
Judge D. Michael Fisher wrote in his opinion that “the conclusion we reach today is clear because he organized, participated in and led prayer activities with his team on numerous occasions for 23 years.”
“Thus,” Fisher continued, “a reasonable observer would conclude that he is continuing to endorse religion when he bows his head during the pre-meal grace and takes a knee with his team in the locker room while they pray.”
"Asking any citizen to remove from view any symbol or any book that has deep significance to his or her life borders on tyranny," Freshwater said.
Opponents say they don't have a problem with a teacher having religious beliefs, but that the appearance of a Bible on a teacher's desk could influence students' religious beliefs.
In the past, Freshwater has taught his students about the "holes in evolution," and about Intelligent Design, the theory that a supernatural power created complex forms of life, said Dave Daubenmire, a spokesman for Freshwater.
The Mount Vernon school district asked John Freshwater last week to remove all religious items from plain view. Freshwater took down the Ten Commandments ...