TX school discusses ban on cheerleaders' religious banners

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 12:50pm

Cheerleaders in one Texas town say they are fighting for their faith. They were writing scripture on signs for the football players until someone filed a suit.

On Tuesday, the school board listened to parents and students over its decision to ban religious messages from sporting events.

In the town of Kountze (pop. 2,000), faith is a big part of many lives. It's how some students can display it that's put this tiny town on the world map.

"They wanted to inspire the football team, they are 'cheer-leaders'"

Kountze ISD school board members listened as parents, students and graduates shared their feelings.

"I've learned just to share my faith and being told you can't do that, it's not easy."

It started last fall when cheerleaders painted Christian scripture on signs for the football team.

"To encourage the football team and the opposing team and all the fans with a positive message. That was it."

The Wisconsin-based organization Freedom From Religion filed a lawsuit.

The district initially told the cheerleaders no more scripture, until the courts stepped in.

"Kountze is another example where the government is attacking students and their free speech rights."

But not all the speakers back the cheer team.

"What if next year a Muslim student or a Hindu student, a Buddhist student makes the cheer team, is she going to be forced to hold a religious banner, kicked off for not agreeing with it? I mean, where do you draw the line?"

"The did it to encourage our football boys. We didn't want to say things like, 'Drown the Sharks' or 'Scalp the Indians.'"

The board didn't take any action at last night's meeting.

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