Texas Judge Might Sack Bible Verses at School Football Games
Is God a football fan?
By Mary Papenfuss, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2012 12:01 AM CDT
Kountze High School cheerleaders and other children work on a large sign in Kountze, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Beaumont Enterprise, Dave Ryan, File)

(Newser) – A judge will decide today if cheerleaders at a Texas public high school can continue to hang banners featuring Bible verses at football games. District officials told the pep girls at Kountze High School to cut it out after they hung banners saying things like, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" So the cheerleaders sued in court. The Freedom From Religion Foundation complains that the messages violate the separation of church and state, reports AP. But the Texas attorney general filed papers on the cheerleaders' behalf, saying a banner ban impinges on their right to free speech.

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Oct 18, 2012 10:41 AM CDT
Sigh, this again. OK one more time, the cheerleaders while on the field at a big game or in the gym at a pep rally are representatives of the school and therefore they must act as pseudo employees of the district. As representatives, so long as they are in uniform on the field or court, they are subject to restrictions of speech and action. If the cheerleaders want to hold up bible verses they can do so from the stands being on the field and waving those signs around sends the message that the school supports that message (which the district superintendent obviously isn't), and works to ostracize students who don't hold those views. There is no impingement of free speech here, they can hold up what ever signs they want just not from the field. Go to the stands and wave them all you want but on the field you are a representative of a secular institution, act like it.
Oct 18, 2012 10:21 AM CDT
I never go to football games because there is something perverted about the stubbornness with which in the name of tradition and inertia football insists upon preserving the sub-clinical concussions that almost always produce laboratory measured diminution of cognitive functioning and visible damage on MRI in high school players who are not yet adults. However, suppose you wanted to go to a state supported football game and as a condition for going you were required by your attendance to be part of a Satan worshiping ritual? Is that freedom of expression? Many conscientious people who are not necessarily atheists study the Bible and come to the conclusion that much of the Bible is the word of Satan. Their objection to Bible verses that ask God for a football victory are valid. There are plenty of forums where people are free to practice Bible worship. But no right to freedom of expression is unconditional and absolute. Every freedom and every right has limits. Bible verses that have the effect of Bible worship in state sponsored events forces tax payers to support something not everybody finds compatible with conscience.
Oct 18, 2012 10:02 AM CDT
If the cheerleaders are following the school policy and not violating any of its rules, then they should be allowed to continue their banners. Once they cross the lines of school policy (profane language, drug/alcohol depiction, hate, being disruptive, etc.) then the principal can tell them to stop. If their signs are causing a disruption, then it may be against school regulations and the school is well within it's rights to demand they stop. Just because you have free speech doesn't mean that you can be disruptive at school events with your free speech. If they are asked to stop solely because of the religious aspect, someone disagrees with them, there is not a school rule against that, and they are not disrupting the event, then they should be allowed to continue.