Watch CBSN Live

Texas cheerleaders get Bible verse flags back, for now

HOUSTON Southeast Texas cheerleaders who were barred from using Bible verses on their signs will be allowed to feature the religious scriptures for the time being.

A Texas judge has decided to continue allowing, for now, Kountze High School's cheerleaders to use run-through banners with biblical verses at football games.

State District Judge Steve Thomas said at the end of a day of testimony Thursday that he needs more time to issue a final ruling. He extended a temporary order granted last month to allow the banners. A hearing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

The cheerleaders have used run-throughs at football games with scripture verses such as, "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me."

A letter was sent from the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison, Wis.-based nonprofit that challenges any religion in public schools, complaining that the banner violated religious freedom. An attorney advised the district to ban the run-throughs as possibly violating U.S. Supreme Court rulings barring prayer in schools. Kountze High School superintendent Kevin Weldon complied, even though he personally disagreed.

"It is not a personal opinion of mine," Weldon told KVUE-TV. "My personal convictions are that I am a Christian as well. But I'm also a state employee and Kountze ISD representative. And I was advised that that such a practice would be in direct violation of United State Supreme Court decisions."

The ban angered many people, including Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott who offered to help the school. In a letter to Weldon, he said the superintendent had the right to legally allow the signs.

In addition, the Plano, Texas-based Liberty Institute sued, arguing the ban violates the cheerleaders' free-speech rights.

Kountze is 85 miles northeast of Houston.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue