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Published On: Mon, Sep 22nd, 2014

ASU football players get crosses back on helmets to honor

Arkansas State University football players will once again be permitted to place cross decals on their helmets to honor two teammates who died. The change in school policy was quick after thousands contacted the university and claimed that the ban was religious discrimination and violated freedom of speech.
 
Charisma News reports that 25,000 people e-mailed ASU demanding that the football players crosses be put back in place after the American Family Association (AFA) sent an Action Alert to its 1 million supporters. An ASU player also contacted Liberty Institute, which contacted ASU President Charles Welch. 
 
The crosses stay! photo/ASU

The crosses stay! photo/ASU

“Arkansas State University football players scored a major win for religious liberties today. We asked our supporters to weigh in, they unified their voice, and religious liberty was heard. This is a victory for all Americans to celebrate. We thank the Liberty Institute for their work in this case and for so quickly reaching out to the university. And we also thank Arkansas State University for rightly protecting the religious liberties of their players by reversing their original mandate to remove the cross from the team helmet,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said in the article.

“It is the university’s position that any player who wishes to voluntarily place an NCAA-compliant sticker on their helmet to memorialize individuals will be able to do so,” the university announced in a letter.

The crosses were placed on the football helmets in remembrance of two teammates that died. Markel Owens was killed in a home invasion, and equipment manager Barry Weyer died in a car accident.

“The players knew they were both Christians so they decided to use the cross along with their initials,” Barry Weyer, Sr told Fox News. “They wanted to carry the spirits of Markel and Barry Don onto the field for one more season.”

It was a decision that had the full support of the university’s athletic director.

“I support our students’ expression of their faith,” Mohajir said. “I am 100 percent behind our students and coaches.”

The athletic director said he had no choice but to remove the crosses after he received a message from the university’s legal counsel.

“It is my opinion that the crosses must be removed from the helmets,” University counsel Lucinda McDaniel wrote to Mohajir. “While we could argue that the cross with the initials of the fallen student and trainer merely memorialize their passing, the symbol we have authorized to convey that message is a Christian cross.”

According to documents provided to me by Arkansas State, McDaniel gave the football team a choice – they could either remove the cross or modify the decal. “If the bottom of the cross can be cut off so that the symbol is a plus sign (+) there should be no problem,” she wrote. “It is the Christian symbol which has caused the legal objection.”

The crosses drew the ire of a Jonesboro, Arkansas attorney along with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based atheist group.

“The crosses appeared to confer State’s endorsement of religion, specifically Christianity,” the FFRF wrote. “The inclusion of the Latin cross on the helmets also excludes the 19 percent of the American population that is non-religious.”

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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  1. Where is the USA wanting to go with the freedom of their people | Marcus' s Space says:

    […] ASU football players get crosses back on helmets to honor (theglobaldispatch.com) Arkansas State University football players will once again be permitted to place cross decals on their helmets to honor two teammates who died. The change in school policy was quick after thousands contacted the university and claimed that the ban was religious discrimination and violated freedom of speech. Charisma News reports that 25,000 people e-mailed ASU demanding that the football players crosses be put back in place after the American Family Association (AFA) sent an Action Alert to its 1 million supporters. An ASU player also contacted Liberty Institute, which contacted ASU President Charles Welch. […]

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