ICC Note: As previously reported, in 2012 the Freedom From Religion Foundation issued a complaint over a group of cheerleaders writing Bible verses on banners. Shortly after, the school district prohibited the use of Bible verses on banners, leading the First Liberty Institute to take legal action on the cheerleaders’ behalf. Last week, a Texas appeals court ruled that the banners are considered private speech and, therefore, cannot be forcibly stripped of religious content.
By Todd Starnes
09/29/2017 United States (Todd Starnes) – Cheerleaders will be able to once again raise banners proclaiming God’s Word at football games in Kountze, Texas.
The Court of Appeals for the Ninth District Court of Texas ruled late Thursday in favor of the Kountze cheerleaders – declaring the inspirational Bible verses painted on run-through banners are private speech.
“We find the Cheerleaders’ speech on the pregame run-through banners cannot be characterized as government speech,” the court ruled.
In 2012 the school district had banned cheerleaders from writing Bible verses on run-through banners for the football team. That decision came after the notorious Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a complaint.
“This is another great victory for the free speech and religious liberty rights of all Texas students,” First Liberty Institute president Kelly Shackelford said. “Hopefully this ruling will bring clarity and closure to this issue for all Texas students and schools.”
The cheerleaders garnered support from across the state – including Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz.
“The First Amendment protects the religious liberty of ever American,” Cruz said. “I’m proud to side with the cheerleaders standing up for free expression of religion and the Bill of Rights.”