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School Bans Cheerleader Bible Banners

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Cheers and jeers for a cheerleading squad that uses Bible scriptures to root for their football team.


Give me a B-I-B-L-E!! What does that spell?! Well, to some parents of students at a Georgia high school, it spells a violation of federal law. The cheerleading squad of Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School has been trying their darndest to help their team win -- and in the end they turned to God. The team has been parading religious banners at football games since 2003.

Now some people would prefer that they get back to more traditional cheers. The critics of the scripture banners have been so vocal, the school has prohibited the giant signs from appearing on the field.  

One local minister thinks the school is overreacting to the complaints.

"The cheerleaders are not trying to push a religious cause, to shove religion down someone's throat," local youth minister Brad Scott told the local newspaper. "The cheerleaders are just using scripture to show motivation and inspiration to the players and the fans."

Although Superintendent Denia Reese supports the "Christian values" of his students, he's not keen to be embroiled in legal wrangling. Charles Haynes, with the First Amendment Center in Washington, says the signs violate the law because "cheerleaders, in uniform at a game, represent the school."

What do you think of these Bible verse cheerleading banners? Push 'em back, push 'em waaaay back, or no big deal?

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35 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris October 1, 2009, 2:09 PM

I think if they were cheering “mmm mmm mmm BARRACK HUESSIN OBAMA” no one would complain.

tom October 1, 2009, 3:04 PM

Is that image real… or a joke? Is that really what they held up?

I totally understand using a cool quote to inspire… but that is about as dry you can get.

Evilagram October 1, 2009, 3:43 PM

I’m an atheist. This is ridiculous.

You might as well forbid quoting any other book. The bible is a work of fiction, as long as it’s not propaganda then I don’t think people should care.

Beth October 1, 2009, 4:32 PM

Uh, that’s not cool.

If we were talking about a Christian high school playing a secular school on the Christian high school’s field, it would be different. But a public high school? Clearly a violation.

Bec Thomas October 1, 2009, 7:12 PM

This is a pretty clear violation and this is certainly pushing religion down peoples throats.

Jim October 1, 2009, 9:43 PM

Clearly unconstitutional.

Anonymous October 1, 2009, 9:56 PM

scriptures are annoying, we have heard them a billion times… like old played out jokes. to incorporate scripture in cheers is just too redundant. they should simply moralize/decriminalize aethism to growing children. If for nothing else but so a child can realize that every choice he makes hold consiquence and nothing can be blamed on the destroyer in the sky.

dale October 2, 2009, 4:03 AM

it is an obvious play on an old writing which sounds like it is talking about football but is not.

it is an ironic approach and funny. if anything christians might get upset at the obvious abuse of their sacred scriptures.

to satisfy the principal they should just stop at the word “prize…”.

sehns October 2, 2009, 5:47 AM

I feel violently ill when I see people pushing religion down your throat like this.

PD McCloud October 2, 2009, 7:48 AM

If we don’t honor the right to free speech in the schools, what the hell are we teaching our children?

Iason Ouabache October 2, 2009, 8:10 AM

PD - The freedom of speech doesn’t trump other people’s freedom of religion. The cheerleaders, as representatives of the school, do not have a right to promote one religion over another. They are allowed to do whatever they want when they aren’t cheering but the rules are very different when they are an official agent of the school system.

Riddles October 2, 2009, 8:23 AM

A cheerleader’s job is to encourage their team and fans. By using scripture to do it they are singling out anyone who doesn’t share the same beliefs. If there is someone on the team that doesn’t share their beliefs, they aren’t going to be motivated like everyone else and it brings down the game.

To fix the problem, do the obvious and use banners that apply to everyone

j October 2, 2009, 9:07 AM

I live in Fort O and it is not alot of people complaining, it is one person who complained. More people are outraged by the decision than are supporting it. There have been rallys to support the cheerleaders and their position. Once again the view of one person supercedes the rights of many.

Misa October 2, 2009, 8:46 PM

PD McCloud- This isn’t really about freedom of speech. I feel like this is more about freedom of religion. I mean, how would you feel if they were using verses from the Koran?

Chrissy October 2, 2009, 10:09 PM

As a Christian, I’m upset that anyone who equate a football game win as the prize God as for us. Everlasting life (a spot in heaven) is equal to a football game win? Yea, hm, right. (insert eye rolling)
However, if “press on towards the goal to win the prize” does mean God wants the team to win the football game, what happens if the team loses? Have they displeased God? Are they going to be worried about losing their spot in heaven?
I personally don’t think God’s gives a fig who wins any football game.

seathanaich October 9, 2009, 12:15 PM

Why are so many religious people incapable of seeing that that their views are not shared by all? There are fans, parents, students, and players who DON’T share your particular beliefs. There are even some Christians who do, but who recognise that their views shouldn’t be shoved down everyone’s throat. This is a sporting event. Include everyone. Keep your religion for when you attend church events where you know that everyone else shares them too.

Read more:

Richele July 5, 2010, 4:13 PM

The United States of America was founded by Christians and on Christian principles. If more of us would turn toward the Bible and God we would be much better off. I think it is great!

Anon September 25, 2010, 6:48 AM

Actually Richele, this country was founded with the “freedom of religion” The puritans of old England wanted to get away and practice their version of Christianity. Where the King wouldn’t let them. Of course when the building blocks of the country were written, it was assumed everyone would follow the bible of some sort. That being said, I’ve found most people treat the Bible like a software license, they never read it and just click “I agree” at the end. It’s a great book, but indeed a work of fiction. As for the topic on hand, being the cheerleaders, yes I don’t want to see that in a public school. Ever. I don’t want to see any religion in a public school. Outside of school, you’re free to do what you want. This is also a football game, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can get worked up at a good football game. Yelling out all sorts of things to the refs and to the opposing team. I’m all for the cheerleaders doing their jobs and helping to strengthen the team, but you can do that by leaving religion out of it.

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