Students Speak Out Against Kountze Cheerleaders’ Bible Banners

For the past several days, damn near every story about Texas’ Kountze Independent School District and how the cheerleaders there want to hold up run-through banners at football games which have Bible verses on them has been pretty one-sided. The local media interviews the cheerleaders or the parents of the cheerleaders and nobody seems to understand why promoting Christianity at public school events is a problem:

Finally, we get to hear the other side.

KFDM News in Beaumont, Texas first interviewed Annie Laurie Gaylor from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF sent the complaint letter that started this whole controversy):

In a telephone conversation Friday with KFDM News, Gaylor said “when cheerleaders wear the school name, are chosen by the school, are at a school function, in an official activity, the school is obligated to ensure there isn’t a religious message.”

She says her organization is feeling the wrath of some parents.

“Some parents are bullies,” said Gaylor. “We’ve received horrible phone calls. This is what happens when government or public schools appear to endorse a religion. This is the danger of religion in public schools. This is one tiny case, but we get this all the time. It’s quite a reflection on ignorance in our country.”

We also hear, in a pleasant surprise, from members of the Vidor High School Young Democratic Socialists club. Vidor is about an hour’s drive from Kountze and the student in this group think this whole fight is just ridiculous:

“It’s been so one-sided on this discussion,” Dylan Kelly, a senior at Vidor High School, told KFDM News on Friday. “I feel people need to know that there are people who oppose this, and people who realize everyone should be equal under the law, and everyone should be represented when you have something in the public forum like this.”

Another student said he was first inclined to support the cheerleaders but his thinking changed.

“My initial thought was that I do support it, but when you dig deeper into it, you realize that they are representing the school and that it’s not really Constitutionally right for them to represent the school in that manner,” said Darren Mattox, a Vidor High School junior.

“I just think they’re misrepresenting certain minorities,” said Dillon Nicholson, a Vidor High School senior. “Judaism, Atheism, the lack of a religion, Agnosticism, or Islam, their God or their lack of God wasn’t on this banner. And I think if it were, then that would be equally offensive to the many Christians that are in this community.”

It would be great to hear some dissent from students at Kountze High School, but it takes a lot of courage to speak out against something this popular and I would understand if non-Christians in the district didn’t want to say anything out of fear of being bullied or ostracized.

In the meantime, Kacy at The Ex-Convert is urging everyone to write letters of support to the Kountze district’s superintendent (who told the cheerleaders to stop with the Bible banners) — she even offers a sample letter of her own.

Also, if you’re in that area, you should considering joining a new Facebook group called “Concerned East Texans for Separation of Church and State.”

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Joe Zamecki

    Yay for speaking out! This is good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    I have never understood the motivation behind mixing football and religion. I’m not religious, but if I were, it would seem sacrilegious to hold prayers and Bible readings before something so petty and pedestrian as a sports game…

    • Punkylove04

      I agree, plus when they win they’re telling the other team that god chose them. that hod. backs their team. very unsportsman, but when they loose doesn’t that send an even worse message about god not backing them

    • Jim

      Bill, in Texas football is religion.

      • Brandie

        If god did exist wouldn’t he have better things to do then to decide the fate of football games. Like stopping floods and tornados, unless of course maybe he is up there betting on the games, in that case that means he cheating if ge can control the out come.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          Why do you think God always needs money? He has a gambling problem.

    • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

      To those religious, nothing is more sacred than spreading faith by all means at their disposal. 

      Football is a large scale social and cultural event. As such it’s a great opportunity to advertise. If you watch a  pro game, every square inch of the stadium has advertising plastered on it, and everyone knows superbowl commercials cost the most. Advertising your god at a football game makes perfect sense to me.

      Religion is a business. If you were religious, to you it would be sacreligious to NOT mix religion with football, basketball, movies, music, TV, shopping malls, theme parks…

  • MargueriteF

    Hurray for those speaking out. I saw an article about this on NBCnews.com last night, and was surprised that many of the comments were actually pretty intelligent:

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/21/14014185-texas-cheerleaders-fight-for-biblical-banners-at-football-games#comments 

  • Denis

     The parents and students there are well aware that the banners are unconstitutional. MANY people, (certainly myself), have spent an enormous amount of time and effort explaining WHY it is unlawful, and HOW the constitution protects all of us.

    Any person continuing to insist that they should be allowed to have banners is behaving no better than the bloody minded Muslims screaming about the “offensive” film.

    It is a shame that protestors cant (lawfully)  be “forced” to attend civics classes to understand their legal system; but certainly they stand condemned  as the intolerant bigoted hypocrites that they are.

    • Djlong77

       Uhm not even close… While I agree that christians in East Texas may have a myopic view of church and state separation, when those banners are finally forbidden at football games no one will get blown up, beheaded or set on fire. They will pout and whine about it for a while because they don’t understand why their christian privilege is being taken away but their behavior will not in any way be equivalent to what happened in Egypt and Libya. Lets tone down the Hyperbole a bit.

      • Meg

        Djlong, while i agree with you it is smugness that will divide our side (as atheists) of this debate. It’s also part of what makes conservatives despise the educated. I’m sick of seeing spot-on debate points ruined by smugness.

        • Djlong77

           I think that making false equivalencies between radical islamic terrorists and small town east Texas town folk is partly why our side is despised by conservatives. The fact that the post above yours states that these people would gladly blow up, behead and set fire to others if they could “get away with it” shows exactly why it is important to dial down the rhetoric. I am not trying to be smug in any way I am asking for an increase in civility towards our fellow citizens especially when trying to advance an argument outside their mainstream way of  thinking.  I would venture to say that most atheists in this country started out just as christian as these banner wielding teens and for some of us the process of extricating oneself from the church was a hard and scary path.  We left behind family and friends in the church whom we still love and care for. So while it is important for us to fight battles on behalf of church and state separation it is also important we do not lose sight of that which unites us with our opponents, as well as that which divides.

          • Tainda

            I’m one of the most civil atheists around and I got threatened.  It’s not us that needs to learn to be civil.

      • http://www.facebook.com/shuteme Randy Shute

        They would do it if they could get away with it.

        • Djlong77

           That is a horrible thing to say.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Buchy/542338898 James Buchy

             Yes, it is indeed a horrible thing to say….because it’s true. They are ALL only 2 shoelaces away from flying planes into buildings.

        • Greisha

          Probably not.  It would require much higher level of fanaticism and indoctrination.

    • http://exconvert.blogspot.com/ Kacy

       The comparison to recent Muslim extremist terrorist works because both involve religious fundamentalism.  However, the degree to which religious fundamentalist act on their beliefs is also important.  (Most likely) Nobody in East Texas will be killed for their opposition to Christianity, but social ostracism is a real threat.

      As hard as we’ve searched to find the person who originally contacted FFRF or find a parent or student in the KISD district to work with FFRF in settling this, nobody has stepped forward.  In a town of 2,000, where 98% of the people profess some form of Christianity, this is understandable.  The social threats are real, but this is very different from the the bodily threats experienced by those in places that do not have a secular government.

      You also bring up a great point about education.  I’m trying to brainstorm and figure out ways to educate the community on church-state separation issues.  Ideally, I’d love to see an education program for teachers, in which they are taught the extent of the laws regarding religious freedom in a secular school.  I’d especially like to see them get some credit for these classes, since I understand they must take continuing education classes to keep their licenses.  I just don’t know how to set this up, but such a program could really benefit our community.

    • Gary B

      Denis, I really don’t think most of them get that it’s unconstitutional.  To them, it’s taking away the cheerleaders’ freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The problem seems to be they’re unable to make the connection that the cheerleaders are representing the school when they communicate their religious message, not themselves.

  • Robert Grimm

    I’m  not surprised that some students would have the right idea on this. What surprises me is that a school in a particularly conservative part of a country that has historically considered socialism to be bad has a democratic socialism club. The future looks a little brighter now.

    • LeighAna

      I know, I was impressed. 

  • Mike Laing

    All I have to do is ask if it was alright for Muslims to do ‘x,’ and the christians become silent. Up here in canada, anyways. Someone just posted a picture with three shots. The first was Tebow thanking god, the second was some cheerleader or someone at a rally thanking jesus, or something, and the third was of an african child minutes away from death from starvation. That really would silence them, if I could remember where it was and use it.
     

    • MargueriteF

      “All I have to do is ask if it was alright for Muslims to do ‘x,’ and the christians become silent.”

      The usual response is either “oh, of course it would be all right” (which means it sounds fine in theory, but if it actually happened, they’d have a fit), or an explanation that Christian signs deserve special status, either because the kids involved are all Christian, or because of our nation’s supposed Christian heritage (or both).  

    • Edmond

      I’m trying to imagine Muslim cheerleaders, and I’m just drawing a blank.  My imagination isn’t even sure where to start.

      • Willy Occam

         I imagine it would be very difficult to do splits in a burka.

      • Anonymous Atheist

        Satirical article about a hypothetical Muslim cheerleader in Texas: 
        http://sportsmansdaily.com/thescrum/?p=4749

      • I am Who I am

        Word that is funny…muslim cheerleaders. Anywho I happen to be a christian. I am proud these girls are takeing a stand, but I do however understand why people don’t want this at a game. This will not pass through the court system because of laws that have been put into act. I do think hate on either side of the fence is crazy. U have non supporters saying things about the religious people on there page and posting stuff that is very disrespectful on the kids faith page. Also on the other hand u have christians saying thing to these non believers that is plane wrong and I don’t think My God would say its okay. Makes them look like unbelievers to me also they shouldn’t delete anything that isn’t offensive but discuss the matter with the people cause that’s what Jesus would do. The only time the delete button should be used is in pics that are extremly disrespectful. Just sayin. I know there are bullies in both groups here. Some christians are bullies and I admit that but my lil kid gets bullied for being a christian so I know its in both groups. The whole thing is freedom of speech and religion. I would not however wanna go to a game and have to kneel down and worship allah nor any other god that’s not mine. So I see why the courts will throw it out. I’m just happy to see that the people serveing God.

  • Tainda

    Yay for those kids!  Especially the one that changed his mind, that shows a thinking brain.

    I would be afraid for any of the kids from Kountze to speak out against it.  I got told they would cut my nose off and that’s on the internet.  I can’t imagine what they would do to someone in person.  Then again, people think they’re pretty bad ass sitting behind a computer.

    • amycas

       Tainda, I saw that on facebook.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

        So that was you they told that to. I remember reading that too, was very Christian of them to tell you to come visit Texas.

        • Tainda

          Yeah, that was me lol  Think they would make me a bundt cake if I came to visit?

          As backwards as Missouri is, it’s a crap ton better than Texas for someone like me.

          • http://exconvert.blogspot.com/ Kacy

             If you do come to Texas, I’ll welcome you at my house with some home brewed mead.

            • Tainda

              Now that’s an invitation I could accept!

              • LeighAna

                No bundt cake as it would probably be inedible, but my cinnamon rolls are the bomb!! 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001749132263 Darren Mattox

      Thanks, Tainda. Dylan showed me the link for this so I came and checked it out. I’m Darren, by the way. 
      So far I haven’t experienced any hatred or rude remarks, in fact, I got a very nice message from a girl on Facebook last night who was glad we took a stand.
      I can only imagine though, if this grabs any more attention, we’ll probably see more ignorant slander thrown at us.
      I say all of that to say this; as I go to study youth ministry in college, I feel like Christianity is starting to modernize it’s way of thinking, finally.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Those kids from Vidor (which, if I understand, is 40mi away) bring up a myth I think needs to be dispelled.  As they point out, this isn’t an ‘atheist’ issue.  If it were not FFRF involved, then surely it would be (and probably will at least supporting) AU, which is NOT an atheist organization.

    The cause of Church/State separation has been brought by Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, atheists, and many Christian denominations, to name a few. 

    As is so often pointed out, the famous “wall of separation”  does not appear in the Constitution.  But what I think is worth pointing out is that it was in response to one group that in concern for its own freedom OF religion, was very much seeking freedom FROM another religion.

    I’m pretty sure most people on there can name which two religions those were.

  • Kountze Liberal

    As a graduate of Kountze High School, I can say without a doubt that the non Christian students in that school are bullied, by other students and teachers alike. When I was attending several teachers attempted to have “come to Jesus” meetings with me, and a a member of the Drill Team I wa expected to participate in group prayer. when I didn’t participate I was shunned by my team later. with all the insanity surrounding this subject, and the threats I’ve been receiving for speaking out against these signs, I would seriously fear for the safety of any current students that coke forward to express disdain for the religious banners. anyone who isn’t Christian in Texas is treated less than human.

    • Gidget

      In a word, you are not truthful, and you know it. As a teacher I know atheists are not bullied . we feel sorry for you.

      • Willy Occam

         “As a teacher I know atheists are not bullied . we feel sorry for you.”

        Nice passive-aggressive touch there, teach. Either that or you’re too ignorant to realize that your comment has proven Kountze Liberal’s point.  I’m guessing the latter.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Right… you realize that the claim was bullying by other students and teachers.  So you, one of the accused bullies, proclaims innocence.  Well I’m convinced.

        I’m sure you don’t think you are a bully, because the action doesn’t fit your definition of bullying.  It would be great if you would consider why kids in your school might feel religiously bullied.  But you won’t.

      • LeighAna

        Please. We’re not bullying you..only treating you as second class citizens who are to be pitied. (Condescending pat on the head for you). Right back at ya babe.

      • Kountze Liberal

        Oh so I suppose you are in all areas of the school at all times? And I think you just proved my point for me by accusing me of not being truthful and that you”feel sorry” for us- its obvious that you don’t comprehend that there is indeed religious bullying at the school. you probably just think of it as trying to save their poor little souls. Teachers, like yourself, should remain religious neutral at a public school but in Kountze the teachers honestly can’t help themselves. I would tread carefully when spewing religion in your classroom and on the internets Gidget- there is a possibility that you may be seeking new employment if one of your un-bullied atheist students gets fed up.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        Also, Kounze Liberal said “non Christians”.  You changed that to “atheists”.  Are those synonymous in your view?  That could be part of the problem.  You see “Christian” and “everyone else”.

      • MattD

        Let’s hope your teaching methods (and considering your post, your ethics) are better then your ability to have adult conversations on sensitive topics, eh?

      • Scott

        Gidget: ”
        As a teacher I know atheists are not bullied . we feel sorry for you.”

        That attitude right there is evidence enough.

      • Claire

        As a teacher in training, I am anger by lack of empathy. You, as a teacher, would know that bullying is problem and that many students don’t report it because of statements like yours. As a teacher, you must take accusations of bullying seriously. I feel so sorry for you for failing your students. I feel sorry for you not living up to what it means to be a teacher.

      • Dwight

        There is a little girl named Jessica that might disagree with you

  • Ghdcpa

    I really don’t understand the fascination with religious inspired
    “cheerleading” in sports.  Perhaps someone can ‘splain it to me?

    First, do they believe their god actually cares about the outcome of a
    high school football game?   7 billion people; hundreds, if not
    thousands, of life-death situations every minute and god cares about a fuckin’
    high school football game??  That’s narcissistic and egotistic. 
    Neither is very “Christian.” But then again, hypocrisy is “par
    for the course.”  [But naturally, god cares more about the couple
    million fundies in Texas than the other 7 billion heathens!]

    Do they think the winner will be determined by which team is the most
    pious?   Screw athletic ability, strategy, blocking and tackling; the
    team that prays more wins?  “Nah, nah; I’m more Christian than you;
    I’m going to win!!”  That’s absurd!!  If true, the religious
    schools should win over public schools every time.  Right? [ I see
    Princeton Notre Dame is #1 in the NCAA football poll.  LOL!!!] 

    What about this “free will” concept which is so important to
    maintain your cognitive dissonance in light of all the inconsistencies in
    theistic claims and religion?  Wouldn’t god’s interference in a high
    school football game violate the participants’ free will?  Or are we all
    just “pawns” manipulated by the omnipotent cosmic chess master? 
      Does free will only exists when it’s convenient to the lie
    everyone’s supposed to accept???

    This being in Texas, I am sure every other team they play is virtually
    entirely “Christian.”  But suppose it wasn’t.  Suppose
    their schedule included some all Jewish, Hindi, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto,
    Zoroastrian, Jainist, Scientologist, or Pagan teams. This makes the religious
    based taunts offensively bigoted.  [ "Whatever!!  They'd just be
    heathens anyway."]  

    [Silly me.  Looking for fundies to act rationally.  What was
    I thinking?????  My error.]

    Like I’ve said before, “acting Christian” is just about
    opposite of acting “Christ-like.”  You know, with all the
    bigotry, hypocrisy, misogyny, homophobia, slavery, genocides, Crusades,
    Inquisitions, witch burnings, mind control, indoctrinations, forcing your
    religious “morality” on others, willful ignorance, forced
    conversions, etc, etc, etc.  The ultimate reverse psychology ploy; although
    you employ it on yourself!

    [I'm sure Jesus would have endorsed treating homosexuals as
    second-class citizens and promoted that a cytoplast has more rights than an
    inferior, unclean woman.  After all, the morality of barbaric bronze age
    bedouins is far superior to any 21st century zeitgeist.  You know: not
    suffering a witch to live; slavery; stoning adulterers, unruly children, etc;
     putting Sabbath breakers & idolaters to death; and all those
    abominations like eating shellfish and clothing of mixed threads. 
    Biblically-based, enlightened bronze age thinking!]   

    Or isn’t it more likely this idea of “acting Christian”
    instills people with a false sense of moral superiority.  Once someone
    feels morally superior, they can justify that anyone in another tribe/clan/team/gender/race/religion
    is inferior to them.  Whether it be Spanish Conquistadors, German Nazis,
    Southern Plantation Owners, or Texas High School Football Teams; once you achieve that false
    sense of moral superiority; you can justify anything.

    • LeighAna

      I think it’s just that God likes seeing teenage girls in really skimpy cheerleading uniforms.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I saw one thread where someone brought up the New England Primer as evidence of our Christian heritage.

        I guess meaning that these young women shouldn’t be dancing around in mini-skirts, but instead dressed head to toe in brown, black and grey, in the kitchen, taking care of at least two children.  Assuming they had survived of course.

        Not many people realize that the Puritans didn’t come here for religious freedom.  They came here to escape the religious freedom of Holland, and set up a theocracy in which any slightly dissenting religious view could be killed.  Literally.

  • John the Drunkard

    ‘…which gives us victory’? Isn’t this blasphemous? Where are the reasonable objections from other high schools? Do they ascribe their defeats to satan?

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.sampica James Sampica

     Heres the state of the Kountze Kids Faith Support group. They aren’t looking for a discussion. They aren’t looking for moral discourse. They are engaged in domestic terrorism of other religions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.sampica James Sampica

     The current state of the Support Kountze Kids Faith Facebook group. These people aren’t looking for discussion, they aren’t looking for moral discourse. This is classic domestic terrorism against other religions and philosophies.

  • Keulan

    Holy crap, a democratic socialist club? Awesome! I wish there had been a club like that when I was in school. Oh yeah, and it’s nice to see some students taking the more reasonable position on those banners.

    • Anonymous Atheist

      Yeah, that is a pleasant surprise. 

      That area of Texas could use some Secular Student Alliance clubs too. (None yet: 
      http://www.secularstudents.org/affiliates#Texas )

    • Kountze Liberal

      Believe it or not when I was in attendance of Kountze High we founded a Young Democrats Club. Which was immediatel met with the teachers contacting a few students to start a Teenage Republicans Club. a few teachers were extremely pleased and supportive but others were openly didainful, including the Vice Principal at the time. good times, good times…

  • nelson smallenbarger

    when i went to school we was allowed our freedom of to believe in the BIBLE  and nobody kept us from believeing in the bible or god or THE LORD JESUS CHRIST>THEY SAID IT WAS A SIN TO GO TO A BALL GAME>

    • NewAtheist

      Um, Nelson, this isn’t about telling the cheerleader, players, parents, students, or teachers what to believe. This is about separation of church and state, plain and simple. It’s not “my god vs. your god”, it’s not even about free speech. It’s about the Constitution. The school, as a federally-funded public entity, is essentially speaking for the federal government and implying endorsement of a particular religion by allowing its cheerleaders (in school-purchased uniforms on school property during a school-sponsored event) to showcase messages from a particular religion. If the banners were 100% Jewish, this would still be a problem. If the banners were 100% Muslim, this would still be a problem. It’s a Constitutional issue, nothing more.

      Now that I’ve fed the troll… argh, can’t help it sometimes.

    • LeighAna

      Sigh. 0.O. Can’t tell if sarcastic or serious, and that makes me a sad panda.

  • Gidget

    You are so wrong. No religion is offended by reference to God. Free speech trumps atheism. If you don’t believe, it should not bother you at all. Why would you car? If you do, you are just full of hate for people who don’t believe like you do. You are a hater.

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      You are so wrong. No religion is offended by reference to its own God. Free speech trumps atheism, unless it’s atheist speech.  In that case death threats against the atheist organization are appropriate, as are death threats against the independent company hosting the speech. If you don’t believe, it should not bother you at all to have Allah(PBUH) praised. Why would you car? If you do, you are just full of hate for people who don’t believe like you do. You are a hater.

    • Baal

       Gidget, higher in this thread you claim to be a teacher from the relevant high school and not a bully.   I fear for the students in your class that don’t look like they belong to your religion.

      Also, you might want to get out of the business of  telling other people what bothers them or not.  The concern here is that the pro-bible verse side is using the football team to send a message that it’s your god or get out.  Or that’s how it looks to at least some folks who are not you.  This case is not about anti-christian hate.  Quite the contrary, you seem unable to tolerate folks who don’t agree with you that the banners violate the establishment clause of the constitution. 

      • LeighAna

        I’m a little frightened that she’s a teacher and she made a statement like, “Free speech trumps atheism.” This displays a profound lack of education and insight, or willful ignorance-the latter being the worst.

    • Willy Occam

      The thought of someone like Gidget teaching a class of
      impressionable school children (and paid for by my tax dollars) is both
      frightening and depressing.  But I don’t just fear for those students
      who don’t belong to her religion, as Baal states; I fear for any of her
      students interested in a decent education.

      Now let’s all wait for
      Gidget’s reply, which will attempt to once again turn this into an
      argument about “atheist haters.”  The truth is, Gidget, we couldn’t give
      a rat’s ass whether or not you’re Christian (or
      Muslim, or Jewish, or Wiccan, or whatever); the truly disturbing thing is your
      unabashed ignorance.

  • D A Richmond

    Even the simplest of the simple minded, if they think about it has to admit that the very concept of right and wrong has its very foundation from the GOD AND THE BIBLE which the leftist, liberal groups claim does not even exist…may the GRACE OF GOD WHO IS MERCIFUL AND JUST open the eyes of the blind before they are eternally doomed and banished to HELL…

    • matt

      “may the GRACE OF GOD WHO IS MERCIFUL AND JUST open the eyes of the blind before they are eternally doomed and banished to HELL…”

      Don’t you see the hypocrisy of this statement?

      And everyone knows the bible exists – even leftist liberals.  Some just choose to acknowledge the fact that this “holy book” condones slavery, rape, genocide and the unequal treatment of women.  It’s very un-godly.

      • Willy Occam

         <<>>

        No they do not.  Hypocrisy, irony, and subtlety are lost on these people.  Plus, they really get off on the thought of non-believers spending eternity in a lake of fire.  Sick, twisted bastards.

  • Ahcombs

    How exactly are those non-Christians being bullied? If you don’t like the sign, turn your head. If you don’t like what a product supports, don’t purchase the product. My HS counselor was an Atheist, he was not offended by Chriatians nor did he push his belief on others. Guess he was an educated Atheist.

  • Jlyneskew78

    I am a Christian. However, I am not a “religionist”. I try my best not to  judge others and by reading the past comments I hope that I don’t come across as others who proclaim to be Christians. Christ was not all fire & brimstone when he spoke.
    As someone who is looking in from the outside, I see no problem with the scriptures. I do know that most schools will say as long as the banners are student-assembled and as long as any type of Bible study or prayer group is student-lead, then its ok.
     However, allowing one faith to display their beliefs would only open the door to allow all others to be represented at the school.
    Although I personally wouldn’t participate in the others, this is America and that is more than likely how the cards will fall. 
    But I do send my best wishes to the cheerleaders in this situation! I pray that the Christians in this community find compassion of Christ and are not so hard on others.

  • http://www.facebook.com/paul.derengowski Paul Derengowski

    In Kountze, Texas (northeast of Houston) another demonstration of just how ridiculous
    the new militant atheists have become is brewing.  Now, they want to
    take on the High School Cheerleaders there.  It is comforting to know
    that they are doing this to protect us all from religion and preserve
    the Constitution as well.  Yeah, right.  http://derengowski.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/atheists-picking-on-the-cheerleaders-oh-my/

    • Edmond

      Are you not able to choose your OWN religious or spiritual path, without the guidance of these cheerleaders?  Some people in the stands, or in the community, might have OTHER beliefs than the ones being endorsed by this school.  They didn’t come to the game for a sermon.  School time and school business are not (and should not be) tools for proselytizaion.  While these girls are acting as school cheerleaders, during a school-sponsored event, then they need to keep their religious beliefs private.  Their banners need to be restricted to how much their team is going to mop up with the other team, NOT about how much aggrandizing their favorite god needs.

      • http://www.facebook.com/paul.derengowski Paul Derengowski

        First, what these cheerleaders are doing has nothing to do with choosing a spiritual path.  It has to do with having freedom to express themselves.  So, your question is a red herring at best.  Second, what these cheerleaders are doing has not been endorsed by the school, but is endorsed by the Constitution.  And in that respect, if whomever does not want to look at the signs, then they have the right to look the other way.  Third, neither the school, nor any business is proselytizing.  The cheerleaders are merely using their innovative means to encourage the football team.  Fourth, your opinion about where a person can express their religious beliefs is unconstitutional.  Fifth, see point #4.

        • Edmond

          They do not simply have BROAD freedom to express themselves however they please.  If they decided to arrive at the game in denim shorts and t-shirts reading “Bratz”, they’d be expected to change.  If they decided to sing a rap song instead of the cheers they practiced, it would not be allowed.  They’re at a game to represent THE SCHOOL, not simply whatever notion comes through their heads.

          And, I have a feeling that if they decided to express MUSLIM beliefs, or put atheistic beliefs on a banner, you would have a BIG problem with THAT.  So would the people in the crowd at the game.  So would the school administration.  For that matter, if only ONE cheerleader wanted to express something like that, then the OTHER cheerleaders on the squad would have a problem with it, and would probably make life HELL for that one girl.

          Your position is “Christian privilege” talking.  Christians often believe that they have a right to hijack the purpose of something like this, in order to advertise their favorite belief system, simply because they’re in the majority.  I wonder if you’d have any idea what it would feel like to be a person seated in the crowd, or a student in the halls, who is NOT a member of the majority belief, and who is not free to express their OWN beliefs in the face of such pressure to conform.

          Since these students are operating on school time, on school property, under school supervision, at a school function, in school uniforms, using school materials, they ARE representatives of the school, and they ARE proselytizing (and as school representatives, this amounts to the SCHOOL doing the proselytizing).  They have their OWN PRIVATE TIME for self-expression, and this is NOT it.

    • WillardGibbs

      “Instructor’s [Derengowski's] classroom ‘hostile,’ district report finds”

      http://collegian.tccd.edu/?p=2241


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