Our local TEA Party group hosted an event last Thursday honoring the Kountze, cheerleaders. Regular readers may recall the young ladies recently came under fire from a Wisconsin based atheist group for displaying religious signs at football games.
The event, hosted at Christ Community Church in Beaumont, drew a good crowd even though several other events were competing for attention including a visit by former President Bill Clinton.
KrisAnne Hall, noted attorney, author, radio host, teacher and fervent champion of the Constitution was the featured speaker. Her enthusiastic speech mainly covered the history of our Constitution and the five documents without which it would not exist. It was a very informative and enjoyable presentation. I look forward to taking the five hour seminar she spoke of.
KrisAnne graciously granted permission to video her speech and share it with you.
(Apologies for my amateur video skills. Trying to catch a clean break in the limited time my camera gives for video duration made for a few abrupt breaks but I think the message still comes through.)
KrisAnne Hall also hosts a syndicated radio program aired each Sunday at 3pm central time. You can find out more here: http://www.gcnlive.com/programs/krisAnne/
KrisAnne Hall’s website: http://www.krisannehall.com/
It’s not over yet but another battle has been won.
Judge Grants Motion For Temporary Injunction in Kountze ISD Case During Today’s Hearing, Allowing Cheerleaders to Continue Making and Displaying Banners with Religious Messages
KOUNTZE, Texas, Oct. 18, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Liberty Institute and Beaumont attorney David Starnes on behalf of the Kountze ISD cheerleaders were granted a temporary injunction that will allow student-made religious banners to continue for the duration of the Kountze Lions football season and until the court makes a final decision in the case. A Hardin County district court judge announced his ruling in the cheerleaders’ favor during a scheduled hearing in Kountze, TX, one day before the high school varsity football team’s Friday night home game. Full trial is set for June 24, 2013.
Read the whole thing: Banner Day in Court for Kountze Cheerleaders
Governor Perry and Atty General Abbott expressed their support for religious freedom on Oct 17:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – President Barack Obama said recently speaking at the U.N., doubling down on his failed attempt to blame the recent attacks on our embassies in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere on the existence of some obscure video.
In denying his obligation to defend the First Amendment rights of Americans, he has once again shown appeasement and hinted to allegiance with the Muslim world.
CBS News correspondent Lara Logan is having none of it. Covering the Middle East for years has given her a unique insight to the minds of our enemies, and yes, that is how they describe themselves: our enemies.
Even if we say we are not at war with Islam, we would do well to heed their words, for they are at war with us, US. The sooner our leaders take that fact to heart, the sooner we will defeat them.
Video found at Resist Tyranny: CBS’ Lara Logan: Obama is lying to you – Islamists are your enemy
The challenge to Obamacare, that is.
Did the Chief Justice have a change of heart? Did he finally remember where he placed that wooden stake?
I’m not holding my breath. But it is an interesting development.
Just two days prior, the U.S. Supreme Court revived hope – long thought dead – that Obamacare, the president’s signature achievement, might yet be ruled unconstitutional. The High Court shocked the legal community by opening its new term with an order giving the Obama Justice Department just 30 days to respond to Liberty Counsel’s petition for rehearing. Liberty Counsel filed the petition on behalf of Liberty University and two private individuals.
An appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled that the Anti-Injunction Act, or AIA, barred the court from addressing the merits in Liberty Univ., Inc. v. Geithner, which challenged the individual mandate (Section 1501) and the employer insurance mandate (Section 1513) of Obamacare.
In addition to the constitutional arguments that Congress lacked authority to pass the law, the suit also raised the Free Exercise of religion claim because of the forced taxpayer funding of abortion.
A state judge has extended a temporary restraining order, allowing Kountze High School cheerleaders to display religious banners at upcoming football games.
Judge Steve Thomas of the 356th District Court extended the order until Oct. 18 – another 14 days. That gives the cheerleaders two more weeks to display their signs while the judge mulls over testimony and briefs.
At today’s hearing, Kountze ISD Superintendent Kevin Weldon Weldon told Thomas he believes he violated district policy by banning the signs. He also said he feels like he got bad legal advice, which led to his decision to ban the signs.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to FFRA: Don’t Mess with Texas Students or their First Amendment Rights
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott joined the fight for free speech and religious freedom today in a letter offering his assistance to the Kountze, TX ISD should matters progress to the courts. (Full text of letter below.)
In case you missed it, here’s some background:
The Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a threatening letter to KISD threatening legal action if the school cheerleaders continued to display bible verses on their signs at school football games. – Students Fighting for Religious Freedom in Kountze,Texas – UPDATED
Since the FFRF issued it’s threats there has been a tremendous show of support from all across the country and the globe. A Facebook page was set up – Support the Kountze Kids Faith which quickly grew to over 40,000 and counting and numerous other communities across the country are showing their support by wearing red (The Kountze Lions school color) to their local football games. Please show your support by signing on to the SKKF Facebook page and tell them TCN sent you.
TCN would like to thank A.G Abbott for stepping up and supporting these students in their exercise of their First Amendment rights.
May God Bless you, sir, and the Great State of Texas.
Here is the full text of A.G Abbott’s letter:
September 27, 2012
Mr. Kevin Weldon
Kountze Independent School District
P.O. Box 460
Kountze, TX 77625
Dear Superintendent Weldon:
I write to offer my assistance and to provide advice about a menacing and misleading letter you recently received from an organization called the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). 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, anti-religion view of the First Amendment, a view that is unsupported by court precedent and has recently been rejected by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
It appears that your recent decision to prohibit the cheerleaders at Kountze High from displaying their religious messages at football games—a decision that has since been blocked by a court order—was based on a mistaken belief that FFRF’s letter correctly interprets the law. Unfortunately, that mistaken belief was apparently reinforced by erroneous advice from the Texas Association of School Boards. Contrary to FFRF’s claims, however, the Supreme Court has never held that it is illegal for a public school to “host religious messages at school athletic events.” And the Supreme Court has never ruled that religion must be “kept out” of public schools. Instead, each of the Supreme Court cases cited in FFRF’s letter involve decisions by public officials to promote a religious message or to direct the content of a private citizen’s religious message.
Unlike the cases cited by FFRF, Kountze ISD has neither made the decision to include a religious message on the cheerleaders’ banner, nor provided any direction as to the content of the cheerleaders’ message. Rather, news reports indicate that these decisions were made entirely by students. Those same news reports also indicate that the banners were made by the cheerleaders off of school property and without the use of school funds. That these students chose to express their religious viewpoint at a school function does not violate the Establishment Clause.
When the school district does not join in the students’ religious message or seek to control or direct that message, the cheerleaders’ decision to display their banners cannot constitute promotion or imposition of religion by the school district. Rather, the banners are the religious speech of individual students, which enjoys protection under the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment.
In addition to the protections afforded by the First Amendment, Texas law further protects students’ free exercise of religion by requiring school districts to “treat a student’s voluntary expression of a religious viewpoint . . . in the same manner the district treats a student’s voluntary expression of a secular or other viewpoint.” Tex. Educ. Code § 25.151. Moreover, a school district “may not discriminate against the student based on a religious viewpoint expressed by the student on an otherwise permissible subject.” Id. To the extent the district seeks to prevent the cheerleaders from displaying their banners because the cheerleaders decided to express a religious—as opposed to a secular—message, it may very well violate section 25.151 of the Texas Education Code.
Think about it: Can a school district or the Freedom From Religion Foundation stop a student from making the sign of the cross before taking a test, or stop football players from pointing toward heaven after scoring a touchdown or kneeling to pray for an injured teammate? Of course not. Just like the cheerleaders’ banners, such public displays of religion are voluntary expressions of the students’ beliefs and are not attributable to the school district.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently vindicated these legal principles—and rejected FFRF’s restrictive view of the First Amendment—in a case involving Medina Valley ISD in Castroville, Texas. In May 2011, a group called Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit against Medina Valley in an attempt to prevent student speakers from praying as part of their speech at their graduation ceremony. My office supported the school district by arguing that the First Amendment does not require public schools to interfere with students’ right to freely express their religious beliefs. A unanimous panel of three federal appeals judges ruled in favor of the school district and permitted Medina Valley High School seniors to pray at their graduation ceremony. The appeals court explained that there was no showing that the “prayers or other remarks to be given by students at graduation are, in fact, school-sponsored.” The same is true here: The cheerleaders are expressing their own beliefs, not those of the school district. Just as Americans United for Separation of Church and State was wrong in Castroville, the Freedom From Religion Foundation is wrong in Kountze.
As the United States Supreme Court has observed, “[w]e are a religious people whose institutions presuppose a Supreme Being.” Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 313 (1952). And as the Fifth Circuit’s Medina Valley ruling demonstrates, school districts that allow students to speak freely about their religious beliefs have the Constitution on their side. A school district’s policies regarding student expressions of religious belief should be guided by the educational goals of the district and an appropriate respect for students’ freedoms of speech and religion—not by threatening letters that misstate the law and distort the First Amendment.
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.
Attorney General of Texas
Due to a reportedly anonymous complaint, a group of high school students in Kountze, Texas has been told to stop expressing their
faith at sporting events. The students are not backing down and are receiving a tremendous outpouring of support from the surrounding cities and across America.
I say God bless ‘em.
When our children make a decision to share their faith we should be thankful, not try to silence them.
David Bellow has more on the story at Texas GOP Vote:
Help these Texas Students Fight for their Right to Express Their Faith! Spread the Word, Join the Facebook Support Group SUPPORT KOUNTZE KIDS FAITH, and Call and Email the Kountze ISD Administration 409-246-3352 firstname.lastname@example.org
A Group of Cheerleaders in Kountze, TX (a small east Texas town) are taking a stand after the Kountze Independent School District BANNED personal banners/posters with any religious reference at football games (or any other sporting events).
In general, students are allowed to express their religious beliefs at schools in Texas as long as the activity/expression is student led with no instruction from a teacher or school staff member. Kountze Cheerleaders make their OWN personal posters for games and they are not instructed by any teacher as to what must go no the banners and posters. The students are free to put their own encouraging statements to support their team.
The students are no longer free to do so following an “anonymous” complaint.
Yep, that is right. One anonymous complaint has removed freedom of speech and expression for hundreds of students in Kountze, Texas.
Read the rest and learn how you can help at Support Kountze Kids Faith – Texas Students Fighting for Religious Freedom
A Facebook support page has been set up. It already has 26,766 members and is growing strong. Support Kountze Kids Faith.
Here we go again:
West Harden ISD tramples Student’s First Amendment rights:
On August 16th, 2012, former Marine Brandon J. Raub was arrested at his home by the FBI, US Secret Service, and the Chesterfield County (VA) Police department.
What was this Iraq and Afghanistan veteran arrested for – without a warrant? The posts on his Facebook page. Reportedly, the posts on his page – which consisted of controversial song lyrics, and his personal dissatisfaction with the US Government – were deemed controversial and terrorist in nature. Upon his detention, authorities brought Mr. Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center for evaluation…
Upon the news breaking, The Rutherford Institute released a statement stating that they will be defending Brandon Raub. According to their website, The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties organization, provides legal assistance at no charge to individuals whose constitutional rights have been threatened or violated.
On August 20th, a three-hour hearing was held to determine if Raub would be released from the John Randolph Medical Center, or if he would be detained for a longer duration. The judge decided that Raub was to remain in detention.
Audio and Video of the arrest @ CDN – Former Marine Detained And Held Without Charges Against His Will.
Is this just the first instance of government silencing dissent?
The TEA Party has been maligned for years. The Obama administration, once installed, immediately commissioned a report describing Right-Wingers and returning veterans as possible terrorists.
Michael Reagan noted as much in an article published at Town Hall, in April 2009:
Do you reject “federal authority in favor of state or local authority,” or “government authority entirely”? Are you “dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”?
If so, you are a dangerous, rightwing extremist according to Obama’s Department of Homeland Security, which bans the use of the word “terrorist” unless it’s applied to us rightwing extremists who, for example, are so extreme as to view the grisly murder of the unborn in their mothers’ wombs as cold-blooded murder.
Are you a veteran returning from Iraq or Afghanistan after risking life and limb to protect your fellow Americans? If so, you are a ticking time bomb likely to the recruited by those dangerous rightwing extremists.
Read the rest @ Town Hall – The Obama Administration Says We’re Dangerous, Rightwing Extremists
Adding to the extremist hysteria, the recent NDAA law codified “Indefinite Detention” for suspected terrorists anywhere in the world and for US citizens on American soil alike.
Earlier this month, TCN posted on a report where a retired army colonel co-wrote an article for Small Wars journal which used a TEA Party insurgency as the basis for training exercises even though not one hint of violence has taken place at an TEA Party rally.
Now we have the case where an ex-Marine is taken into custody for… speaking his mind?
A former Marine involuntarily detained for psychiatric evaluation for posting strident anti-government messages on Facebook has received an outpouring of support from people who say authorities are trampling on his First Amendment rights.
Brandon J. Raub, 26, has been in custody since FBI, Secret Service agents and police in Virginia’s Chesterfield County questioned him Thursday evening about what they said were ominous posts talking about a coming revolution. In one message earlier this month according to authorities, Raub wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”
Police — acting under a state law that allows emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments upon the recommendation of a mental health professional — took Raub to the John Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. He was not charged with any crime.
The scariest part: you’re not entitled to the sorts of protections you think you’re entitled to when detained, because you’re not being charged in criminal court:
Raub’s supporters characterized the detention as an arrest, complaining he was handcuffed and whisked away in a police cruiser without being served a warrant or read his rights. But authorities say it wasn’t an arrest because Raub doesn’t face criminal charges.
I haven’t seen the messages that led to the commitment, but it doesn’t take a genius to see the potential for abuse here. When the government has the ability to throw you in custody because you have made “ominous posts talking about a coming revolution,” there is something really wrong going on. Plenty of tea party activists speak of the possibility of an upcoming civil war, or the need for revolution. Perhaps some of these calls are literal, but far more often they are metaphorical: designed to convey the need for a complete upheaval of a corrupt government, root and branch.
As for committing someone because they wrote: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads” — well, one wonders if we are going to throw bloggers in custody because they adopt as their slogan Mencken’s phrase:
Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
I suppose we are to overlook real threats of violence and the fact that Eric Holder has routinely ignored radical, inflammatory speech from the Black Panthers, and refuses to enforce existing laws barring voter intimidation as charged against that same group.
It’s truly an upside-down world when American law is used to silence the dissenting voices of those who exercise their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech, using it for the express purpose it was intended: Calling out government corruption and abuse of power.
Still more to be found at PUMABydesign001’s Blog.