Perry Appointed Judge Grants TRO Allowing Religious Banners On High School Football Field

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Hardin County District Judge Steve Thomas has granted a Temporary Restraining Order to allow Kountze cheerleaders to script bible verses on signs during football games. The TRO will last for two weeks until their next hearing Oct. 4th. The Judge was appointed by Rick Perry in June 2011 and the Governor made strong statements earlier this week regarding the faithful's role in the “public arena”.

The cheerleaders legal aid comes is in part thanks to Liberty Institute. The conservative group has also teamed up with Tony Perkin's Family Research Council to create a new website, religioushostility.org. The site claims, “Hostility against religious liberty has reached an all-time high, and the attacks are increasing at an unprecedented rate.” But, once you peel back the thin veil these groups do not have true “religious freedom” as a goal or value. They believe that their “burden [is]to reclaim the culture for Christ”. In the Executive Summary of their “Survey of Religious Hostility in America”, Christ or Christian is mentioned 9 times, where Judaism or islam is not mentioned once.  They perpetuate the notion that Christians are the victims of oppression in a nation that is 78% Christian. Right-wing blogs are happy to further the narrative with such misleading headlines as, “War on Football: TX School District Bans Christian Banners at Football Games” courtesy of the The Blaze. The fact is religious banners are not being banned – only religious banners held by uniformed students representing the school during an official school sponsored event.

I spoke with a graduate of Kountze High School, who identified herself as an atheist and said, “I'm from Kountze and my life has been taken over by this. I've never seen anything like this take place in town in my 23 plus years.”

Read more below the jump.

If one of the cheerleaders made a banner praising Allah…I think you would literally have to fear for your life if you did that…The real victim here is that Hindu, Muslim, or Atheist student who's a cheerleader, or a football player, or on the drill team like I was, or just in the stands, who wouldn't dare say that this banner doesn't represent them or offends them because they now have 30,000 people from across the country in a Facebook group prepared to tell them that majority rules, as some of them have said, and that don't worry, this represents everyone because Jesus said he loves everyone in the Bible.

A letter writing campaign has begun to counter balance the pressure school officials have received from the community and conservative politicians – some of the letters are from self-described Christians. The original person who made the anonymous complaint is believed to be a parent of one of the Football players to which another player said, “If you don't like it don't come to our games. That's how I feel away about it.” Now may be a good time to recall that the Constitution's function is to protect the rights of the ultimate minority – the individual – in this case, one too afraid to speak up against the tyranny of the majority.

About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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