“They weren’t getting very fired up by ‘Kill the cougars,’ so if we say ‘you have power, God gives you strength,’ I mean, that makes me want to do good,” Ashton Jennings, a Kountze, Texas cheerleader told KBTV.
This season, Kountze High School’s eighteen varsity cheerleaders displayed banners with Bible verses during football games.
One said, “But thanks be to God, which gives us victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The Kountze Lions football team crashed through the banners as it took to the field.
In September, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) contacted Superintendent Kevin Weldon with a citizen complaint. After talking to two different attorneys, Weldon forbade the banners.
Cheerleaders and their parents sued Kountze in state district court, backed by the Liberty Institute, a Religious Right legal group. Judge Steven Thomas lifted Weldon’s ban for the rest of the football season, pending a trial.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott intervened in the suit on behalf of the cheerleaders.
Superintendent Weldon personally sympathizes with the cheerleaders’ cause, but he means to obey the law.
Community members have harassed him, but he has not stood entirely alone.
According to the N.Y. Times, the recently-formed Concerned East Texans for Separation of Church and State delivered to his office a gift basket with coffee, chocolates, and a thank-you card.
An essay honoring him appeared in the Texas School Administrators Legal Digest Online.
A few brave people held placards for church-state separation at a Kountze High School football game.
The case is Matthews v. Kountze