orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

State News

October 4, 2012

Judge: Cheerleaders can use bible banners, for now

HOUSTON — A Texas judge has decided to continue allowing, for now, a Southeast Texas high school's cheerleaders to use run-through banners with biblical verses at football games.

State District Judge Steve Thomas said Thursday at the end of a day of testimony that he needs more time to issue a final ruling. He extended a temporary order granted last month to allow the banners. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

Kountze (KOONTZ) High School cheerleaders have used run-throughs at football games with scripture verses, such as "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me."

An attorney advised the district to ban the run-throughs as possibly violating U.S. Supreme Court rulings barring prayer in schools.

The Plano, Texas-based Liberty Institute sued, arguing the ban violates the cheerleaders' free-speech rights.

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