Saturday, September 13, 2014

Atheists Strip Memorial Crosses From Ark. Football

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is cheering the work of a local attorney who prompted the Arkansas State University to review the legality of Christian cross decals on the football team's helmets in honor of two recently deceased students.  In response, the University immediately invoked a ban of anything appearing to be Christian from the helmets.
". . . we have received a complaint that use of the cross violates the Constitutional prohibition against separation of church and state."
-- Athletic Director Terry Mohajir

"Persons viewing the helmets will, and have, seen the symbol as a cross and interpreted that symbol as an endorsement of the Christian religion. This violates the legal prohibition of endorsing religion."
-- Lucinda McDaniel, Arkansas State University Counsel

“It’s time that we as Christians stand up and say we’re tired of being pushed around. We’re tired of having to bow down to everyone else’s rights. What happened to our rights? The last time I checked it said freedom of religion – not freedom from religion.”
-- Barry Weyer, Sr. (father of the deceased)
For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Atheists Force Bible Bans at Colleges Across America

University Says Student's Cross Necklace Offends Freshmen

Atheists Threaten Mississippi School for Acting Christian

Oklahoma School Assures Wisconsin Atheists: No Praying Coaches Here

South Carolina School Bans Jesus from Prayers after Atheists Threaten

Atheists Lament They're Short of Lawyers to Sue ALL Christians

In response, Thousands Join for Prayer vs. Atheists at Florida Football Game and ditto in Georgia and Elsewhere

Battles against the Christian cross are frequent, and it often backfires: Atheists Inundated by Jesus' Cross Symbols in California

UPDATE 9/18/14: University reverses decision, allows crosses on helmets

-- From "College football team removes cross from helmets after complaint" by CNN Wire 9/12/14

. . . Mohajir said the decision to place the cross with the letters M.O. and B.W. came from the players and coaches. Player Markel Owens was murdered and equipment manager Barry Weyer, Jr. died in a car accident after last season.

The group Freedom From Religion led the fight to remove the crosses, saying it was an inappropriate way to honor Weyer and Owens.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Arkansas State removes Christian symbol from football helmets" by Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports 9/10/14

According to documents provided to USA TODAY Sports by Arkansas State, the inquiry did not initiate with FFRF but rather Jonesboro, Ark., attorney Louis Nisenbaum. He sent an e-mail to University Counsel Lucinda McDaniel on the afternoon Saturday, Sept. 6, pointing out that he noticed the crosses while watching Arkansas State's game at Tennessee earlier that day.

"That is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause as a state endorsement of the Christian religion," Nisenbaum wrote. "Please advise whether you agree and whether ASU will continue this practice."

On Monday, McDaniel wrote an e-mail to Mohajir saying she found no specific legal cases that addressed crosses on football helmets but recommended that the bottom of the cross could be cut off so that the symbol was a plus sign.

Athletics director Terry Mohajir said he wanted to fight the decision . . . [but] he had little choice but to follow advice from the university's legal counsel to remove or modify the symbol.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Football team forced to remove Christian crosses from helmets" By Todd Starnes, 9/11/14

Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser told me he would be more than honored to represent the football team in a lawsuit against the university.

Sasser said the students are well within their rights to wear a cross decal on their helmets and accused the university of breaking the law.

“It is unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination to force the players to remove or alter the cross on their helmets that they chose themselves simply because the cross is religious,” Sasser said.

“The university and others want football players to be positive role models in the community, but as soon as the players promote a positive message honoring their former teammates – the university discriminates against them in a blatant violation of the Constitution.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Football players targeted for 'memorial crosses' on helmets" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 9/11/14

“If the university remains recalcitrant in its violation of the players rights, Liberty Counsel stands ready to advocate in federal court on behalf of individual team members … to vindicate their constitutional rights,” a letter from Richard L. Mast of Liberty Counsel told the school Thursday.

“Instead of informing Mr. Nisenbaum that it was inappropriate for the university to take a position on private student expression, and that it was likewise inappropriate for the university to order private student expression to be suppressed, administration . . . [harassed] these young people as they mourn the deaths of their teammates.”

“I am saddened that the university did not stand up for their rights. These young people have done nothing wrong! They have as much right to communicate their ideas–or in this case, their grief–as the attorney who somehow feels offended by the small vinyl crosses they are wearing on their helmets.”

The letter to the school notes that the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the rights of students to express themselves.

To read more legal arguments from the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read New Atheist TV Network — Aren't They All Already?

And read President Obama Provokes Second 'In God We Trust' Movement