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Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

Cheerleaders in Texas win Supreme Court case over displaying Bible verses

The Texas Supreme Court has ruled in favor of high school cheerleaders who displayed banners with Bible verses during football games, defeating the attack on their free speech by a freedom from religion group based in Wisconsin.

The Kountze school district prohibited the cheerleaders from displaying the banners on which they had printed Bible verses such as “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), claiming that the cheerleaders’ banners were part of “government speech,” and could thus be censored. The Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint in 2012 that sought to have the banners banned.

The court ruled against the school district and in favor of the free speech rights of the students.

The Texas cheerleaders win!

The Texas cheerleaders win!

Hiram Sasser, deputy chief counsel for the Texas-based Liberty Institute which represented the cheerleaders, said the question now is whether the school district will appeal the court’s decision.

“Are they going to continue to bleed taxpayer money to fight for the right to censor religious speech?” Sasser asked.

Beaumont attorney David Starnes has argued that the banners represent the personal views of the students and do not need to be restricted.

However, Thomas Brandt, the attorney representing the school district, claimed that the case is not an issue of free speech, but of the school’s rightful control over the content of the banners.

The court said the decision will protect the future display of religious-themed signs because the district has argued it retains the right to restrict them.

Gov. Greg Abbott supported the cheerleaders and filed court papers seeking to intervene on their behalf.

Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement Friday applauding the court ruling.

“Religious liberty, deemed by our nation’s founders as the ‘First Freedom,’ is the foundation upon which our society has been built,” he said.

 

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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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