Kountze Statement

FFRF seeks Texas plaintiffs to challenge cheerleading practice

"There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed."

- Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Weiss v. District Board, March 18, 1890

A state judge in Texas this afternoon issued a temporary injunction which will continue to create division, strife, fights and persecution. State District Judge Steven Thomas is permitting high school cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas, to continue to display biblical banners as part of football games.

In a curious bit of collusion, the school district had formally asked the court to hold “that the Establishment Clause should not be interpreted so as to require Defendants [the school] to bar the religious banners…”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose complaint began the case, is not a party to the lawsuit. If contacted by those with standing to sue, FFRF is prepared to challenge the continuing violation in federal court, where this case belongs.

“We encourage any student or parent with children in the public schools coming into contact with this religious practice at public school functions to contact FFRF,” said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor. Plaintiffs with standing might also include school employees coming into regular contact with religious banners at school sporting events.

FFRF sent a letter of complaint to the Kountze School District in September about cheerleaders displaying giant paper banners painted with bible verses as part of the start of football games. Football players then run through the religious banners. The cheerleaders sued the school district after it asked them to stop this strange practice.

FFRF has taken complaints about the practice spreading to other school districts, and has recently sent letters of complaint to to Newton I.S.D., Texas; Bossier Parish, La.; Stone County Schools, Miss., and Thackerville Schools, Okla.

“Since the state’s top law enforcer, Attorney General Greg Abbott, and its highest executive officer, Gov. Rick Perry, have openly expressed contempt for atheists and the Establishment Clause, this leads to a climate of intolerance. It takes courage to face down the full apparatus of state government, but we need those brave few to contact FFRF,” added Dan Barker, co-president.

“Don’t let collusion, politicking, and religious fervor in Texas destroy respect for keeping public schools free of religious divisiveness,” Barker added.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

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