Wichita Falls native and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today praised the determination of the cheerleaders whose Bible verse banners were ruled constitutional, according to a report from the Texas Attorney General’s Office, Wednesday, May 8.
The top law enforcement officer in the state of Texas was interviewed for the Pratt on Texas radio show which aired in Wichita Falls today about the cheerleaders Bible verse cases. When Robert Pratt asked Abbott why the school system in Kountze had originally supported the cheerleaders before reversing field, Abbott referred to a group which had invaded Texas.
Abbott said the Freedom From Religious Foundation had marched into Texas and bullied the school district into opposing the cheerleaders rights to write Bible verses on banners, even though the activity was not a school-sponsored activity.
Abbott said, “This is a victory for religious liberties and for high school cheerleaders who stood up to powerful forces that tried to silence their voices. The Freedom From Religious Foundation was wrong in trying to bully cheerleaders from displaying banners with religious messages. Our Constitution has never demanded that students check their religious beliefs at the schoolhouse door. Students’ ability to express their religious views adds to the diversity of thought that has made this country so strong. The Kountze Cheerleaders are heroes who fought for principles and won!”
The top law enforcement officer had earlier offered his support to the Kountze cheerleaders in a letter to school superintendent on September 27, 2012, when he wrote a letter which in pertinent part read, “I write to offer my assistance and to provide advice about a menacing and misleading letter you recently received from an organization called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). That organization has a long history of attempting to bully school districts into adopting restrictive religious speech policies that go well beyond what is required by the United States Constitution.”
Abbey Carter, a representative of Liberty Institute which represented the Kountze High School cheerleaders in the case, said today, “We just received word that Hardin County District Judge Steven Thomas signed the Order, ruling in our favor! This not only vindicates the cheerleaders but has restored religious liberty in Kountze.”
The case was headed for a summer trial, but Judge Thomas ruling eliminated the need for a courtroom battle set in June and allowed the cheerleaders to continue writing Bible verses on run-through banners for the football team.
Liberty Institute had recently reported the brave cheerleaders had withstood the brutal questioning by opposing attorneys during depositions which were recently taken.
A key issue was the fact the cheerleaders made the Bible-verse laden banners on their own time and not as a part of a school activity.
The case has attracted national attention with the Los Angeles Times even running a story which quoted some of the Bible verses.
Liberty Institute was started by attorney Kelly Shackelford as a non-profit law firm to defend the religious liberties of people in schools, churches and other venues. Shackelford recently spoke in Wichita Falls to the Wichita County Republican Women.
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