Attorney General Abbott Calls Ruling Declaring Kountze High School Cheerleaders Religious Banners Constitutional a Victory for Religious Liberties
AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued the following statement after a ruling today declaring the Kountze High School cheerleaders’ religious football banners Constitutional and permissible:
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 Religion Foundation was wrong in trying to bully Kountze ISD into prohibiting the 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!"
In Sept. 2012, Attorney General Abbott sent a letter to the Kountze ISD Superintendent offering assistance to the school district in response to a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation that incorrectly claimed that the cheerleaders should be prohibited from displaying banners with Bible verses at football games. In Oct. 2012, the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the State in the lawsuit regarding the banners. Most recently, in April 2013 the State filed a briefing with the court in response to briefs filed by the cheerleaders and the school district.
The State’s action in the Kountze ISD case reflects Attorney General Abbott’s latest effort to defend public acknowledgments of religion. The State’s religious liberties cases include: