Judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Judge rules for cheerleaders in Bible banner suit

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The ruling? No Texas law prohibits cheerleaders from using religious themed banners at school sporting events.

"Anyone has the right to express what they want to," said one Kountze cheerleader.

Several of the Kountze High School girls have been involved in a lawsuit with the school district after their banners were banned in the fall of 2012.

Another cheerleader said, "It was just something that we needed to do as a team"

The district received complaints about the run-through posters from the Freedom from Religion Foundation.

"God told me no, I need to press forward and not give up," said one cheerleader.

Wednesday, a District Judge ruled in favor of the cheerleaders.

"This decision is a great victory, not only for the cheerleaders, but for the religious liberty of student leaders across the country," said Jonathan Saenz, with Texas Values.

"It's not a victory for religious liberty when you make people have to listen to a particular religious view," said Jim Harrington, with the Texas Civil Rights Project. "I expect that it will be reversed on appeal or it'll end up in federal court."

Attorney General Greg Abbott and Governor Rick Perry tweeted about the decision.

Saenz said, "There's no doubt that the involvement of Attorney General Greg Abbott had a tremendous impact on the decision and I think everyone is grateful that he got involved."

"It's just very unfortunate to play this kind of game, that state officials do," added Harrington. "I just find it kind of shameful, that it's become so political."

"What's a shame is that you had school district attorneys that spent thousands of dollars going up against these cheerleaders over seven months," Saenz said.

Harrington added, "The very reason we have a protection against a compelled religious expression, or the state doing religious expression, is just so you don't have kids put in the middle."

"God has definitely taught me a lot this year...when he talks about patience and trusting in him," said another cheerleader.

Some hope the decision will deter other lawsuits in the future.

As for Austin ISD, they don't have policy against cheerleaders using biblical verses on posters.

The guidelines say they just have to be "in good taste."

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