A high school football team in Texas will no longer allow 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 got lots of complaints from a national atheist organization.
The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) is a national atheist organization based in Madison, Wisconsin. Their leaders wrote a letter to the Kountze Independent School District in Kountze, Texas, telling the district to stop allowing its high school football team to allow the use of the Scripture-based banners. The letter quoted the following:
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.”
The letter goes also claims that letting such banners be displayed is offensive to non-Christians and is unconstitutional. One case the FFRF uses to support its point is the case of Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe. In this case, the Supreme Court decided against allowing student-led prayers to be announced at football games because the games are school-sponsored events.
The Kountze Independent School District’s superintendent, Kevin Weldon, says he does not like the idea. However, he feels like he really has no choice. He quoted:
“It is not a personal opinion of mine. My personal convictions are that I am a Christian as well. But I’m also a state employee and Kountze ISD representative. And I was advised that that such a practice (religious signs) would be in direct violation of United State Supreme Court decisions.”
Weldon also asked parents who involve themselves in organizing extracurricular activities to make sure student groups do not show any religious signs at all other school-sponsored activites.