What unites Ted Cruz and cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas?

This tiny city of some 2,000 is overwhelmingly white and Christian, and home to a group of young women who sued their school district for the right to display banners bearing Bible quotes, while serving as cheerleaders for their high school team.

The case was brought in 2012, after the school district banned the banners, following letters threatening legal action from the Freedom From Religion group, based in Wisconsin. Passages were chosen to reference Lions, the team name, and provide more positive messages. They included “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” and “A lion, which is strongest among beasts and turns not away from any.”

Only one of the plaintiffs is still in high school; the others have graduated since the suit, which they filed in 2012, but they haven’t abandoned the case. Many outsiders see it as another front in the quasi-political culture wars, which may explain why Ted Cruz and other Republican officials have entered the fray, but at least one of the women interviewed for a recent Atlantic article rejects that perspective.

From the article:

The girls I talked to in Kountze didn’t really see themselves as part of a culture war—“No, I don’t think Jesus is a Republican,” Richardson quipped. But a few of the moms saw things

The moms noted that this wasn’t an issue which they’d thought of before, but said they now see lots of areas in which Christians are asked to not talk about their faith, and expressed worries over what they see as a growing effort to silence people like themselves.

What do you think about this case? Do you think Ted Cruz is involved for personal convictions or political reasons? How do you think it will resolve, and what do you think it means for future cases? Do you think the racial dynamics–this case involves women and women of color–change this from the typical story about religious rights and freedoms?

Image from Atlantic story of Keke Moffett, a former cheerleader who was one of the plaintiffs.


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