A Texas high school student came up with a T-shirt design to help his classmates express their faith after a teacher was forced to remove a poster with a Christian message from her classroom.
Cameron Franks, a senior at Rusk High School, says he was "torn up inside" after learning that the poster, which has a cross containing the text of Romans 1:16 on it, had been taken down. The teacher was asked to remove the sign after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin-based organization that promotes the separation of church and state, sent a letter of complaint to the Rusk Independent School District (RISD).
Scott Davis, superintendent of RISD, told KTRE that "a teacher acting in that manner is in violation of the establishment clause" of the First Amendment. Davis also said, however, that he appreciates the positive way in which Franks has responded.
Franks, who says he has served as band chaplain and leader of the Fellowship of Christian Students at his school, responded to the poster's removal by designing a T-shirt to help others express their faith.
"Basically, the gist of it is…that you can wear the T-shirt and it will basically speak for you," he said.
The front of the red shirt features the image of a man whose shadow is the cross and the words, "Let GOD RULE your world, if you want GOD TO ROCK your world!" The back of the shirts show a crown of thorns and three nails along with the text of Romans 8:31.
Noel Franks, Cameron's father, says they initially ordered only 100 shirts because they expected the demand for them to quickly "fizzle out." As of Tuesday afternoon, however, they have put in orders for about 2,000 shirts and their Facebook page has garnered more than 4,091 "likes" since it was created on Jan. 27.
"There's no limit to what can happen as far as what God can do," said Noel. "I'm not going to ever try to put Him in a box again because He's proven me wrong so many times."
People from around the nation have called about the shirts, says Noel, and local churches from a variety of denominations have expressed their support by offering donations. All of the money that is donated, he says, will go directly toward purchasing shirts.
"What we're trying to do is get enough donations from individuals so that every child in the school district that wants one to wear and may not be able to afford it can have that free," he said.
Cameron says the teacher who was required to take down the poster gave it to him after news broke about his ministry. The poster is now hanging on a wall in his family's home.