(Photo: Reuters/Julia Robinson)
Cheerleaders are at the center of a growing controversy concerning Bible verses on football banners. Now, they're receiving support from the Texas Attorney General, who argued that the court's previous ruling violated their freedom of speech.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott spoke out Wednesday, revealing that he would argue the case on behalf of the high school cheerleaders who put Bible verses on banners at football games.
Cheerleaders at Kountze High School had previously filed a lawsuit against the school district because of a policy attacking their religious freedoms. The rule prevented them from using Bible verses on banners during football games, and they claim it violates their free speech.
The cheerleaders were told to stop using the Bible verses on the banners during high school football games after a complaint was raised by the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
The secular group argued that using banners with phrases such as, "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me" violates the First Amendment by using a government entity to endorse or support a religion.
Once the cheerleaders were told they were no longer allowed to use the Bible verses on the banners, they filed a lawsuit in Hardin County district court.
State District Judge Steve Thomas blocked the new school policy from going into effect, permitting the cheerleaders to continue to make the banners, while he reviewed the case. Judge Thomas is expected to make his decision in the coming days.
Abbott has stated that the cheerleaders create the banners without the support of school funding, qualifying the banners as personal objects that are protected by the first amendment.
"This is student-led expression, and that's perfectly constitutional," Abbott told the Associated Press. "We will not allow atheist groups from outside the state of Texas to come into the state to use menacing and misleading and intimidating tactics to try to bully schools to bow down to the altar of secular beliefs."