He sincerely believed that the Lord wanted him to assault that kid:

An Orange County elementary school teacher suspended for the second time over footage of him apparently attacking skateboarders defended his actions on Tuesday as being guided by a divine presence. “When I stepped in, I felt compelled by a higher power,” 58-year-old Thomas Hammer told the Orange County Register. “Honestly, have you ever been grabbed by the Lord in a way you never thought you would or you could? That’s exactly what I’m testifying to, and I’m not speaking in hyperbole. I’m speaking right from the heart.”

Hammer would probably be arrested and charged with assault—and fired from his job as a second-grade teacher—if he wasn't acting on his sincerely held religious beliefs. This is America! As Republican nominee for the Senate in North Dakota Ben Sasse succinctly put it: “Government cannot force citizens to violate their religious beliefs under any circumstances." If religious beliefs exempt Americans from following the law, as Sasse and growing numbers of social and religious conservatives argue, then Hammer shouldn't be punished. If they do punish Hammer... RELIGIOUS FREEDUM IZ DEAD.