In a development that really only has people asking, "What took so long?" Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, ever eager to flail whatever red-meat rightwing issue that crosses his desk, has "offered assistance" to the good folks at the Kountze school district who have received a "menacing and misleading letter" about their cheerleaders displaying Bible verses.
God Himself is too busy to handle the litigation, apparently, so Abbott is offering the state's resources -- even though it will take time and expense that could be used suing the Obama administration for every little thing they do.
Kountze High starts every home football game by running through paper banners that feature Bible verses, although we bet they're not the Bible verses we could come up with.
Someone has complained, the headline-seeking Liberty Institute has gotten involved, a brou has been haha'd.
Which is where Abbott comes in.
His letter today offers solace to Kevin Weldon, superintendent of the Kountze Independent School District, as it fights with the headline-seeking Freedom From Religion Foundation.
That organization has a long history of attempting to bully school districts into adopting restrictive religious speech policies that go well beyond what is required by the United States Constitution. Consistent with that history, the letter you received incorrectly claims that allowing Kountze High School cheerleaders to display banners decorated with Bible verses at football games amounts to a "serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment."
That exaggerated claim is not supported by the Constitution. Instead, it is based solely on FFRF's distorted, antireligion view of the First Amendment, a view that is unsupported by court precedent and has recently been rejected by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Abbott urges Kountze to fight on, and assures them they will not fight alone:
If you decide to allow the cheerleaders of Kountze High to freely display their chosen message on their banners at football games, and if the Freedom From Religion Foundation or any other group sues Kountze ISD as a result, my office stands ready to file a brief with the court protecting the cheerleaders' religious liberties.
We assume Abbott will fight this battle even if it means dealing with publicity. He's just that kind of guy.