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Houston Matters

Is There a Clear Separation Between Church and State in Texas?

The high school football season is underway in the Kountze Independent School District. As the players take the field, cheerleaders root them on…using banners with religious messages on them. Last spring, a Texas District Court judge barred the Kountze Independent School District (about 90 minutes north east of Houston) from banning such religious displays on […]

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The high school football season is underway in the Kountze Independent School District. As the players take the field, cheerleaders root them on...using banners with religious messages on them. Last spring, a Texas District Court judge barred the Kountze Independent School District (about 90 minutes north east of Houston) from banning such religious displays on banners held by cheerleaders during high school football games. The district now wants an appellate court to rule on whether the cheerleaders have a free speech right to use the signs. And the ACLU is weighing in with their thoughts.

We revisited this case, which involves a potential clash of interpretations of multiple first Amendment protection, the free exercise of religion and freedom from a state-sponsored religion. We also looked at whether there really is a separation of church and state in Texas, and if so, here in Houston, is it separated enough...or too much. We were joined by Charles "Rocky' Rhodes, Professor of Law at South Texas College of Law and Rebecca Robertson, legal and policy director of ACLU of Texas.

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The amicus brief that was filed by the ACLU today in the Kountze I-S-D versus the Kountze cheerleaders case.