Cheerleader Banner Dispute: Texas Attorney General Sides With Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders in a banner dispute with their school got the backing of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who stated that the high school cheerleaders who want to use Bible verses on banners at football games should be allowed to do so.

Abbot filed court papers to intervene in a lawsuit involving cheerleaders at Kountze High School, who filed the suit against the school district to complain that a new policy was violating their freedom of speech, reports USA Today.

District officials told the cheerleaders in September to stop putting Bible verses on their banners at football games after the Freedom From Religion, an atheist group, complained about them.

The group explained that using banners with phrases like, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me” was a violation of their First Amendment rights on the government establishing a religion.

The cheerleaders filed suit in Hardin County district court, saying that the ban interfered with their religions freedoms under the First Amendment. According to Fox News, Abbot argued that the banners were created without school funding, making them qualify as free speech. Abbott added:

“This is student-led expression, and that’s perfectly constitutional. 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.”

The foundation responded to Abbot’s intervention in the cheerleader banner dispute case, saying that he “has crossed the line from carrying out his secular constitutional duties to defend the state of Texas, to using his government bully pulpit to bully and scapegoat atheists.”

The cheerleader banner dispute case is being ruled on by State District Judge Steve Thomas, who is expected to rule on Thursday.