Mr. Michael Stone reports, in his article Christian cheerleaders bully secular students, the case of some Texas high school cheerleader’s desire to display Christian themed banners at their football games. Mr. Stone says that this should be viewed as ‘bullying’ those non-Christian students who attend games where these banners are displayed.
This is a shameful misapplication of the word ‘bullying’. There is real bullying going on in schools, the kind of bullying that involves malicious verbal, and too often literal physical, abuse. When we define bullying as “expressing one’s opinion in public contrary to the wishes of others” we trivialize the seriousness of real bullying.
Mr. Stone writes, “…such a display is unconstitutional. The banners, because they are displayed in a context implying school endorsement, violate the establishment clause contained in the First Amendment to the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."
Mr. Stone writes that the action of these cheerleaders is, “an assault on the US Constitution”. Once again, the ‘establishment clause’ of the First Amendment is brought up in an attempt to stop any and all mention of God in the public arena. Atheists and other anti-God proponents, are quick to focus on the part of the Amendment that says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”, but they conveniently try to hide the second half which says, “…or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”
Let us look at the facts; the Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law”. Did Congress make a law stating that these cheerleaders should/could/must/must not display Christian banners at the football games? No, they did not. There is nothing unconstitutional about this situation at all. This is simply how atheists vent against God and those who represent Him. Mr. Stone interprets the First Amendment in the liberal self-serving way most atheists interpret it. Many humanists believe that the Amendment prohibits any mention of God, either audibly or visually, in or around any public place that is not privately owned. This is simply a blatant misinterpretation to serve one’s own agenda.
Mr. Stone thinks the Constitution is on his side, he continues, “The Constitution is clear, the government cannot endorse nor deny any specific religion.” It may be clear in Mr. Stone’s imagination; however, that is not what the Constitution says. It says that Congress cannot make a law establishing one religion over another. However, it also says that Congress cannot interfere with the expression of religion. These cheerleaders are expressing their beliefs in a peaceful, non-threatening way. They are well within the limits of the law.
Mr. Stone appears to think that he knows how God thinks, “To think that a Christian god would care about a high school football game while other children suffer only serves to demean and belittle the Christian faith and those that cherish it”. It is not the football game that He is involved in, it is hearts and souls of the people who play it. God is glorified anytime He is worshiped, even more so when that worship touches the hearts of others. The Bible tells us that God cares about each and every one of us (Matthew 6:25-34). If the heart of Mr. Stone, and others like him, was not so hardened by his steadfast rebellion against God, he would know life cannot be complete apart from God.
Mr. Stone even attempts to use the Bible against Christians when he writes, “Indeed, one wonders if the Cheerleaders and their supporters have even read the Bible, given their blatant failure to recognize and honor Mathew 6:5: "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”” This verse, that Mr. Stone cites in order to ridicule believers, is directed to those who pray in public in order to promote themselves. Their motives are stated right in the verse quoted “…to be seen by men”. There is nothing hypocritical in wanting to share the love of God with others.
The Constitution does not prohibit public displays of religious liberty on public or private land, at public or private functions, government or otherwise. That belief is a twisting of the First Amendment which simply serves to limit the reach of Congress. The high school cheerleaders in this case are merely exercising their right to freedom of speech and expression which is their Constitutional, and God-given, right.