Separation of Church and State

Cheerleaders' Bible Banners Prompt Legal Challenge

Waved signs at games

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A Texas public high school cheerleading squad will head to court this week to find out if it can hoist banners inscribed with biblical verses during football games, the latest case to test the sometimes fine line between the separation of church and state and freedom of speech.

The Kountze, Texas, schools superintendent banned the signs two weeks ago after he was contacted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., which said it had received a citizen complaint.

A state district court judge in Hardin County issued a temporary restraining order lifting the ban after the Liberty Institute, a Plano, Texas, group promoting religious freedom, offered to represent the cheerleaders and asked the court to issue a permanent injunction. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Kountze, a town of 2,100 about 85 miles northeast of Houston.