Texas Government News: Texas judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner verse suit
The following is a digest of an article that originally appeared at Fox News. The Texas Lobby Group is publishing this summary of that article as a public service to other Texas lobbyists, Texas politicians, and other interested parties.
On Thursday October 18th, District Judge Steve Thomas prevented an East Texas school district from keeping their students from quoting bible verses on football game banners. Judge Thomas had initially granted the students involved a temporary restraining order that halted the school district’s ruling, eventually ruling in the student’s favor. After the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a complaint, the school district made the decision to ban the use of religious phrases and quotes at football games.
“Public schools are for children of all faiths or no faith, and these banners were clearly being displayed in the context of school-sponsored activities,” the group said. “Faith is a profoundly personal decision, so students should not be subjected to an exclusionary school-sponsored religious message on campus or be forced to choose between attending quintessential school events — football games — or being subjected to an unwanted religious message.”
Governor Rick Perry spoke out in favor of the students, applauding their expressions of religious faith. These students were the school cheerleaders, and they had been presenting banners at football games saying things like “If God is on our side, who can be against us?” The Freedom From Religion Foundation found this and other sayings at school games to be in bad taste, and an encroachment upon the non religious student’s school experience. Rick Perry stated that “Anyone who is expressing their faith should be celebrated, from my perspective, in this day and age of instant gratification, this me-first culture that we see all too often.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott also stood be Perry’s sentiments, and went so far as to file court papers to intervene in the lawsuit, he also sent state attorneys to publicly support the student’s position. This ruling by Judge Thomas compliments many other Texas policies on religion and school systems. The “Texas Education Code” states that schools are required to respect the rights of students to express their religious opinions and beliefs. Judge Thomas has ruled in accordance with many more traditional rulings, but one still wonders what the role of religion is today the the school systems. Does it reflect the deep seated role of religion in politics?