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Contact: Cindy Roberts
October 1, 2009
AFA urges Georgia school district to protect student expression on football banners

Because of a complaint from one as-yet unidentified resident of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, a longstanding tradition in which cheerleaders placed inspirational Bible verses on pre-game banners has been banned at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.

The practice has been common since 9/11, and served a motivational purpose for both players and fans.
Denia Reese, Superintendent of Catoosa County Schools, banned the Scripture verses to avoid potential litigation.

Tim Wildmon, the president of the American Family Association, said, “It’s just bizarre that we live at a time where a single complaint from one hypersensitive person can trample the right to free speech for an entire community. We urge Ms. Reese and the Catoosa County School board not to give up the fight but to work with First Amendment law firms to craft a policy that will protect maximum student expression.

“After all, freedom of religion and speech were the first two God-given rights the Founders protected in the Bill of Rights. When the Bible gets banned in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, you know that religious liberty is in big trouble in America.”

Added Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s director of issues analysis, “This shows how out of control our activist judiciary is, and the damage that’s done to fundamental American rights through a distorted reading of the First Amendment.

“The First Amendment was intended by the Founders to restrain Congress and Congress alone. It’s impossible for cheerleaders to violate the First Amendment for the simple reason that they’re not Congress. We need judges who will respect the original intent of the Founders so they will start protecting our First Amendment rights instead of trampling all over them.”


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