[Publisher’s update: A judge intervened temporarily allowing the display of bible verses. Click HERE for an update to the below story].
A high school football team in Texas will no longer run through paper banners that reference the Bible as they take the field after the school district’s superintendent banned the use of religious messages on the banners. The school had received a complaint from a national atheist organization.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a national atheist organization based in Madison, Wis., wrote a letter to the Kountze Independent School District in Kountze, Texas, telling the district to stop allowing its high school football team to run through the Scripture-based banners.
“It is our information and understanding that Kountze High School cheerleaders regularly display religious banners that the football team runs through before athletic competitions. We understand that each week a different bible verse is displayed for all to observe …You must take immediate action to stop these religious banners from being part of school-sponsored events. It is illegal for a public school to organize, sponsor or lead religious messages at school athletic events,” FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie A. Schmitt said in her letter to the district.
The letter goes on to claim that allowing such banners is offensive to non-Christians and is unconstitutional, even if the creation and use of the banners is student-led. One case FFRF cites in support of its point is the case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe, in which the Supreme Court decided against allowing student-led prayers to be announced at football games because the games are school-sponsored functions.
The Kountze Independent School District’s superintendent, Kevin Weldon, says he doesn’t like the idea of getting rid of the banners but he feels he has no choice.
Read more from this story HERE.