The Texas attorney general has sent a letter of support to the
high school cheerleaders who have been banned from displaying
religious messages on banners at football games.
Though a letter from the Freedom From Religion Foundation
resulted in the banning of Bible verses from the breakaway banners
in the Kountze Independent School District, a judge in Beaumont has
issued a temporary restraining order, restoring the banners for
In his letter [PDF] to the district's superintendent,
Attorney General Greg Abbott calls the FFRF's letter "menacing and
misleading." He goes on to peg the organization as one with 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."
Jeff Mateer of the Liberty
Institute tells OneNewsNow Abbott has a record of supporting
"We were very excited and appreciative of his agreeing to come
in and voice really strong support for these students," the
He asserts that students clearly have the right of free speech,
even at school.
"Just because they go to the school, they don't lose their First
Amendment rights. They don't lose their rights under Texas law,"
Mateer contends. "The … speech at issue is not government speech;
it is their own speech, and therefore the government has no right
to censor or in any way restrict what these students say."
A hearing is being held to decide if the banners are endorsed by
the school, or if they represent the personal beliefs of the
cheerleaders. Cheerleader Macy Matthews earlier told the
Associated Press that no school money was being used and
that the signs were not even made on school property.
The FFRF claims a resident complained about the Bible