Victory for Christian Cheerleaders in the War against Christianity
Last year in Texas a group of cheerleaders made the news when they were forbidden from putting bible verses on their banners during football games. The dispute began when the cheerleaders used run-through signs emblazoned with bible verses or phrases like “If God is for us, who can be against us.” The cheerleaders in Kountze, located about 95 miles northeast of Houston, were supported by various state officials, including Gov. Rick Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Initially the school district ruled that they could not display the banners, but later reversed their decision after a public meeting.
In this Sept. 19, 2012 file photo, Kountze High School cheerleaders and other children work on a large banner in Kountze, Texas. A judge on Wednesday, May 9, 2013 ruled that cheerleaders at the high school can display banners emblazoned with Bible verses at football games. The dispute began during the last football season when the district barred cheerleaders from using run-through banners that displayed religious messages, such as “If God is for us, who can be against us.” (AP Photo/The Beaumont Enterprise, Dave Ryan, File)
Well, things escalated after that. The Freedom From Religion Foundation complained and when the school decided to allow the banners, the foundation argued that the banners violated the First Amendment Establishment clause. The clause bars government from establishing or endorsing a religion. They believed that the publicly funded school is a government institution and cannot allow the banners. A judge issued a temporary injunction that allowed the cheerleaders to continue with the banners pending the outcome of a lawsuit that
The cheerleaders enjoyed another victory on Wednesday. State district Judge Steven Thomas determined that no law “prohibits cheerleaders from using religious-themed banners at school sporting events.” The School District has not yet indicated whether they intend to appeal the ruling, but they are expected to appeal it.
“This is a great victory for the cheerleaders and now they’re going to be able to have their banners,” said Hiram Sasser, a lead attorney for the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas-based nonprofit law firm that represented the cheerleaders.
However of course some others expressed their disapproval of the ruling. Annie Laurie Gaylor, the co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation said that the banners, “carry the appearance of school endorsement and favoritism, turning Christians into insiders and non-Christians and non-believers into outsiders.”
The Anti-Defamation League also criticized the ruling, calling it “misguided” and saying it “flies in the face of clear U.S. Supreme Court and other rulings.”
For now, the cheerleaders will be allowed to write religious sentiment on the banners.
Here is my thoughts, this is the correct decision. IF people expect equal rights for atheists, and pagans, then Christians must also be granted the same rights to free speech and expression. If a predominately atheist group within a school wanted to express dislike and challenges to Christianity, they would be within their right to do so. The Cheerleaders were united in their faith, and thus no active cheerleader was forced to be religious. Also participation in cheerleading is voluntary, no one forces them to join. Protecting free speech cannot just apply to atheists, or Wiccans, or Muslims, or Jewish people. It must apply to everyone. You cannot restrict groups from expressions of faith without violating their rights.
This was a good ruling and my congratulations go out to the Texas Cheerleaders who handled this very well, and stood up for themselves. It is an example of how to go about standing up for yourself. Certainly a good learning experience. However, I expect that if the case goes further, up to a federal level, it will be struck down. Christianity is increasingly being attacked, and disallowed. The very same people who flame up in outrage over any bashing of Muslims, have no qualms with spewing Christian hate. The ridicule with disgusting images, and pretend that all Christians are idiots, meanwhile we aren’t even allowed to show Mohammed’s face on a television show for fear of being “insensitive” to Muslims around the world.
It is time for America to GROW UP. If you don’t like what someone has to say, feel free to set up a group that voices your disapproval. Stop asking the courts to settle arguments about free speech. I would think that the courts have enough to do that involve themselves in high school disputes. I am sick to death of people claiming EVERYTHING violates some right or another. If I were to go to a country that identifies as 80% atheist, I would expect to see a lot of atheists, and anti-christian rhetoric. Similarly, if I went to the middle east, I would expect to encounter people facing east and praying. That is life. You have to deal with people who think, and speak differently than you. That’s America. Get over yourself.