National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Update: Judge allows Texas cheerleaders to use Bible banners

Texas cheerleaders can continue to use banners with Bible verses after a court granted them a temporary restraining order against their school district.

A judge in Hardin County, Texas, issued the order on Thursday after parents filed suit on behalf of the cheerleaders. It orders the Kountze Independent School District to "cease and desist" from preventing high school cheerleaders from displaying the large paper banners, through which football players ran at the start of games.

A hearing on the case has been set for Oct. 4.

A lawyer from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the district saying the cheerleaders' tradition was "inappropriate and unconstitutional."

Superintendent Kevin Weldon had stopped the use of the banners after consulting with a legal adviser at the Texas Association of School Boards.

NCR-issue-christmas-icon.jpgGive a Christmas gift that lasts all year. Give the gift of NCR!

Liberty Institute, which is representing cheerleaders and parents in the case, hailed the judge's decision.

"We are excited that the cheerleaders for the Kountze High School Lions can again do what they do best -- cheer on their football team without government censorship," said Mike Johnson, senior counsel for the Texas-based Liberty Institute.

Although Weldon has said he supports the cheerleaders' stance, he was advised that legal precedent was not in their favor.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled in Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe that student-led and student-initiated prayers conducted over a loudspeaker during football games were unconstitutional because they implied school sponsorship of the prayers.

Nine years later, cheerleaders at a Georgia high school who held nearly identical signs to those used in Kountze were also forced to stop by school officials who referred to the Santa Fe case.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Friends of NCR 300x80 web ad.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

December 5-18, 2014

12-5-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.