Judge Rules in Favor of Kountze Cheerleaders Using Bible Verses on Football Banners [VIDEO]
Here is an update on a story I posted back in September. If you remember, the cheerleaders at Kountze High School, had been using bible verses on their banners for their football games. Well it became a problem for some, and the school asked them to stop using the bible verses until a decision could be made.Well, yesterday, Judge Steve Thomas determined the Kountze High School cheerleaders' banners are constitutionally permissible. They can display banners with Bible verses at football games. State District Thomas determined that no law "prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events."
The lawsuit had been scheduled for trial June 24.
In October, Judge Thomas allowed the request from the cheerleaders allowing them to continue using bible versus on the banners pending the lawsuit's outcome. At the time, the Judge thought the district's ban on using biblical versus, appeared to violate free speech rights.
If you remember from the earlier story, the school district had banned the cheerleaders from using banners with religious messages after the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained. The group said the messages violated the First Amendment's so-called Establishment Clause, which bars the government, or a publicly funded school district, in this case, endorsing a religion.
Attorneys for the cheerleaders, who were supported by the Liberty Institute, a Texas nonprofit law firm, argued that the girls' First Amendment rights to free speech were being violated by the school district and that the messages on the banners were not asking anyone to believe in Christianity or accept the faith.
As you can imagine, the cheerleaders and their attorneys, feel vindicated and relieved. This is a big win for anyone students who are religious across the country.
KTRK in Houston reported that the Anti-Defamation League criticized the ruling.
"High school football games are a quintessential school event and cheerleaders are a key part of that event," said Martin B. Cominsky, ADL Southwest Regional Director. "This decision flies in the face of clear U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings. The religious banners blatantly convey a message that the school supports and promotes one religion over any other. Not only is that inappropriate, the court should have found it unconstitutional."
The cheerleaders in Kountze, which is Northeast of Houston, received support in their lawsuit from several state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who filed court papers seeking to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of them. A Facebook group created after the ban, Support Kountze Kids Faith, has more than 45,000 members.
According to KTRK, here's what Governor Perry had to say about the ruling:
"Today's ruling is a win for free speech and religious freedom. The Kountze High School cheerleaders showed great resolve and maturity beyond their years in standing up for their beliefs and constitutional rights. I'm proud of them and I celebrate this victory alongside them."
It's great to see the "good guy" win this time!