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Cheerleaders get backer on Bible suit

AUSTIN, Texas — Attorney General Greg Abbott said Wednesday he will defend high school cheerleaders who want to use Bible verses on banners at football games.

Abbott has filed court papers to intervene in a lawsuit that cheerleaders at Kountze High School filed against the school district complaining that a new policy violated their freedom of speech. In September, district officials told the cheerleaders to stop using Bible verses at football games after the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained.

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The atheist group argued that using banners with phrases such as ‘‘I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me’’ violates the First Amendment prohibition on the government establishing a religion.

Abbott said that the cheerleaders create the banners without school funding, so the signs qualify as free speech and should not be banned.

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