A Texas District Courtís temporary decision overturning a Kountze Independent School District (ISD) prohibition on high school cheerleaders displaying religious banners, inclusive of New Testament verses, on the center of the field at school-sponsored football games is both unfair and plainly wrong on the law (ďTexas fight over cheerleader banners reaches biblical proportions,Ē Oct. 5).
The virtue of our nationís public schools is that they are for students of all faiths and backgrounds. For this reason, the U.S. Supreme Court has wisely barred school-sponsored or endorsed religious activities in the public schools. The cheerleading team and football games are clearly school-sponsored. Display of these religious banners forces Kountze ISD students to choose between game attendance and their most personal beliefs. The Texas District Courtís sanction of the banners flies in the face of well-established law.
Prohibiting the display of these overtly religious banners should in no way be viewed as hostility towards religion. Rather, constitutionally mandated church-state separation in the public schools reflects a profound respect for individual religious freedom and recognition of the diversity of the student body. We hope that the Texas Courts will ultimately uphold the Constitution and bar these divisive banners from the football field.
Amanda Susskind ADL Regional Director Los Angeles
Media Watch ADL monitors electronic and print media reports about the Middle East