Cheerleaders' Bible banners create conflict at Texas high school

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 2 2012 2:00 p.m. MDT

Kountze High School cheerleader Brooke Coates paints scripture verses on a car Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 in Kountze, Texas. The small Hardin County community is rallying behind the high school's cheerleaders after the squad members were told they could not use scripture verses on their signs at the football games.

Dave Ryan, Associated Press

Our take: After seeing the idea on Pinterest, Kountze High School's cheerleading squad created banners featuring Biblical messages to display at football games. The Freedom from Religion Foundation said it received a complaint about the banners. The school subsequently banned "public displays of religion during football games," but community members are fighting back.

A Texas public high school cheerleading squad will head to court this week to find out if it can hoist banners inscribed with biblical verses during football games, the latest case to test the sometimes fine line between the separation of church and state and freedom of speech.

The Kountze, Texas, schools superintendent banned the signs two weeks ago after he was contacted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., which said it had received a citizen complaint.

A state district court judge in Hardin County issued a temporary restraining order lifting the ban after the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas, group promoting religious freedom, offered to represent the cheerleaders and asked the court to issue a permanent injunction. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Kountze, a town of 2,100 about 85 miles northeast of Houston.

Read more about the Kountze High School conflict on The Wall Street Journal.

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