Judge Gives Blessing to Cheerleaders' Bible Banners
...but only if school district approves
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted May 9, 2013 8:41 AM CDT
Kountze High School cheerleaders, from left, Savannah Short, Macy Matthews, Kieara Moffett and Rebekah Richardson speak to reporters Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in Beaumont, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Beaumont Enterprise, Guiseppe Barranco)

(Newser) – Gimme a "V" for "VICTORY!" The Kountze High School cheerleading squad can display their Bible-thumping banners at games—assuming the school district allows it—State District Judge Steven Thomas ruled yesterday. Thomas concluded that putting Christian messages on banners at public school sporting events didn't constitute a violation of the First Amendment's "Establishment Clause," which forbids the government from backing any given religion, the AP reports. "They're going to be able to have their banners," said an attorney for the nonprofit representing the squad. "We won and they didn't."

But the lawyer for the Texas school district noted that the judge's ruling recognized the banners as the school's speech, not the students', meaning the district still has the right to prohibit the banners or restrict their content. He says the district may ask the judge for clarification on the ruling. The Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Anti-Defamation League decried the ruling, with the latter saying it "flies in the face of clear US Supreme Court rulings."

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May 10, 2013 7:35 PM CDT
All is fine and dandy for the religious ones, until another religion not of their choice demands the same 'rights'. Sincerely, Truesoy
May 10, 2013 4:21 AM CDT
So let me get this straight: You are allowed as a cheerleader to display banners promoting a particular religion BUT if one of the athletes rapes you you aren't allowed to NOT cheer for him. In case you wonder what I refer to, there was an incident where a cheerleader was kicked off the cheerleading squad in Silsbee, Texas because she refused to cheer for a basketball player that had raped her. The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that she didn't have any right to refuse to applaud her attacker because as she was on the cheerleading team and in uniform she was considered an agent of the school. Not only that but her family was forced to pay legal fees of over 40K. The Supreme Court refused to take the case. So if I follow this logic, these cheerleaders would be acting as agents of the school. As such, wouldn't one conclude that if they display banners endorsing a religion that would be the same as the school itself endorsing a religion? As this happened in Texas, wouldn't this judge be ignoring case law stating that cheerleaders DON'T have private protected speech when they are wearing their uniform at a sporting event?
May 10, 2013 3:56 AM CDT
No let them have it on banners at football games so christianity just becomes a set of dumb rah rah slogans.