- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 14, 2014

A high school cheerleading squad has asked the Texas Supreme Court to weigh in on religious banners they want to make for football games.

A petition for review was filed this month on behalf of Kountze High School cheerleaders, asking the court to declare their banners an example of free speech.

An appeals court earlier declared the issue moot after dueling lawsuits filed on behalf of the cheerleaders and the Freedom From Religion Foundation made their way through Texas’ judicial system.

The appeals court made the ruling “because there was no longer a case or controversy once [the school district] voluntarily announced that it intends to allow religious messages on the cheerleaders’ banners.”

The cheerleaders in their petition expressed worry that if “the decision stands — and [the school district] is allowed to continue erroneously characterizing the banners as government speech — the days of the cheerleaders exercising their constitutional rights are numbered.”

According to the petition, cheerleaders have designed the banners for more than 20 years and recently started to include Bible verses “to provide encouragement and positive support to the student athletes.”

Ebola outrage 

As if the Ebola outbreak in West Africa couldn’t get any worse, the Religion News Service reports that some church leaders are claiming the crisis is actually a curse from God.

The news service reported that Wilmot Kotati Bobbroh, leader of the Living Water Pentecostal Church in Liberia, said the outbreak is “a national curse brought by God to force repentance.”

That belief is gaining popularity in Sierra Leone, the news service reported.

And in Liberia, more than 100 Christian leaders this month announced that God is angry at “sins including corruption and immoral acts such as homosexuality,” and that Ebola is a plague.

Picket pasties? 

A strip club owner in northeast Ohio recently gave a nearby church a taste of its own medicine when about 30 people, a few of them topless, protested the house of worship that routinely pickets the club.

The Coshocton Tribune reports that employees and supporters of Foxhole North peacefully protested outside the New Beginnings Ministries church in Warsaw, Ohio, whose members have been picketing the strip club for nearly a decade.

Club owner Thomas George said the demonstration was held to show “how it feels to be under scrutiny.”

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