The state judge may have ruled that the cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas can continue to make banners with religious messages on them at football games, but the issue may not yet be over (and I hope it isn’t). The FFRF is looking for a plaintiff to file their own suit:
But Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor said she anticipates the debate will continue.
Gaylor, whose group complained about the use of the signs last fall in response to a complaint from someone in the bleachers, said the case belonged in a federal court, not a local state court presided over by an elected judge.
She said her group hopes to represent someone – a student, parent, faculty or anyone else in the stands – who objects to the banners at high school football games.
It’s important to recognize that the ruling last week came in a suit that was filed not by the opponents of the practice, but by the cheerleaders themselves. And they filed in state court because they knew they were more likely to get a favorable ruling by an elected judge in Texas than by a federal judge. But since this is a First Amendment issue, it really belongs in federal court.
Unfortunately, it may be difficult to get a suit there. First, they have to find a plaintiff and that is likely to be difficult in Kountze, Texas. Even if someone there wants to challenge the practice, they would undoubtedly have to endure a furious backlash of bullying, death threats and very likely vandalism and violence. And the second problem is standing, which is always a problem in such cases.