The Freedom From Religion Foundation wants you to help give perspective to a Texas school district over allowing religious "run-through" banners displayed by school cheerleaders on the field during school football games. The Kountze ISD Board of Trustees has asked for public input.
FFRF maintains that banners on the football field are perceived as official messages of the school and as such, may not endorse Christianity. FFRF contacted the District in the fall and requested that the religious banners no longer be used. In September of 2012 the District's former superintendent agreed and disallowed religious messages on the run-through banners. Liberty Institute, on behalf of school cheerleaders, filed suit against the district. A Texas court granted a temporary injunction, which allows the religious banners until trial in June.
The cheerleaders and their advocates have claimed the messages painted on the banners are "inspirational." But, the messages are insulting and exclude members of the community who are non-Christians, non-religious, or Christians who do not subscribe to divisive biblical messages being promoted by the school at a football game.
"If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31," read one of the banners displayed by cheerleaders in school uniforms. Others have said:
But thanks be to God, which gives us Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil. 3:14
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14.
The banners marginalize community members who are not in agreement with the proselytizing messages. FFRF disputes Liberty Institute's position that the banners are merely private speech. Because the banners are school-sponsored speech they must follow the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.
The Kountze Independent School District is receiving comments on the religious banners through Friday. FFRF encourages you to speak out and let the District know that the divisive banners are unwelcoming and that the Board should take action to prevent the District's display of biblical banners.
Interim Superintendent Reese Briggs
Click on the link below to send him an email:
Kountze Independent School District
PO Box 460
Kountze, Texas 77625
Phone: (409) 246-3352
Fax: (409) 246-3217
Contact the local media
Email a letter to the editor of the area's newspaper, The Beaumont Enterprise:
One sentence is sufficient. Your own words are best. But you may wish to copy this paragraph in your correspondence:
I support Kountze ISD's original decision to stop the display of bible verse banners on the football field.
Cheerleaders and other representatives of the school should not misuse the privilege the school confers on them to promote Christianity.
The banners confer an appearance of official school endorsement, and marginalize members of the community who do not conform to the religious beliefs espoused in the messages. Please put an end to school-sponsored religious banners and show respect for the Establishment Clause and the rights of conscience of all members of our pluralistic society.
Thank you. (Sign name)