Late Thursday, a Hardin County judge ruled over the “Bible Banners” dispute that took place at a high school in east Texas. Currently, the cheerleaders at a Texas high school can continue to hold up banners with positive religious messages.
The dispute arose when the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to the superintendent of the school seeking separation of church and state and criticizing the practice of its cheerleaders holding up bible banners.
Apparently, in Kountze, a locality of about 2100 residents northeast of Houston, banners with messages thanking God are a tradition, and the school cheerleaders used them without knowing that they were tempting the wrath of mortals. The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote “It is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor, or lead religious messages at school athletic events.”
Following the threat, the school superintendent canceled the practice and contacted the lawyers of the school. The Texas-based Liberty Institute threw their support behind the cheerleaders in the resulting court case.
The school superintendent, who is a former football coach, said “I applaud the students for what they are standing for, I applaud their convictions … I have the same convictions they do. My relationship with God is very important to me and this community feels the same way.”
Opining on the move made by the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion group, the senior counsel of Liberty Institute who are fighting for the ‘bible banners’ said the case was “a quintessential example of students’ private speech being censored unnecessarily by uninformed school officials.” He further added about the cheerleaders’ commitment to continue using the bible banners, “They wanted to demonstrate good sportsmanship by including positive messages on their banners that will encourage not only the home team, but also the players and fans on the opposing side.”
Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford said, “These government officials will never learn that students’ religious rights are protected.”
This latest court order adds to the mess in the country among people who seek to stamp out the presence of God and religion from all public institutions, and people who believe in the rights of practicing their religious faiths even in public institutions.