Thursday, October 01, 2009

Townspeople Oppose School on Cheerleading Ban

[Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia citizens] are rallying around Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School cheerleaders after they were banned from displaying signs with Bible verses urging fans and players to “commit to the Lord” and “take courage and do it.”

UPDATE 10/2/09: ACLU supports students protesting ACLU

-- From "Cheerleaders’ religious signs draw fire" by Ben Benton, Chattanooga Times Free Press 9/29/09

The banners — the paper ones that football players crash through at the beginning of games — have been common sights in the school’s football stadium since 2003, local officials say.

“The cheerleaders are not trying to push a religious cause, to shove religion down someone’s throat,” said local youth minister Brad Scott, who was LFO High’s class president in 2004. “The cheerleaders are just using Scripture to show motivation and inspiration to the players and the fans.”

Catoosa County Schools spokeswoman Marissa Brower said a Fort Oglethorpe resident lodged a verbal complaint to Superintendent Denia Reese last week, saying that the display of a Bible verse on the football field is a violation of federal law.

A school system statement released Monday said the message constitutes “a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution for signs with Bible verses to be displayed on the football field.”

Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb vehemently disagrees with the ban and said he’ll call on the City Council to support the cheerleaders and their signs.
The signs don’t infringe on anyone’s religious rights and are good for school spirit, he said.

Mr. Scott said the “separation of church and state” has nothing to do with cheerleaders who are not “part of the state” and simply want to offer an inspirational message with signs they made on their own time.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.