Saturday, November 3, 2012

In Texas School Superintendent Kevin Weldon Stands Up for Freedom of Religion and the Rule of Law

This Un-American Position Has Him the Object of Hatred and Abuse

All across America a drama is being played out about the desire of many deeply religious people to impose their religion on everyone else.  In Texas this has taken the stage in the actions of cheerleaders at high school football games who want to display banners advocating their religion at the football games.

The action by the cheerleaders has been opposed by the school superintendent.

After consulting with lawyers, Mr. Weldon banned the district’s cheerleaders from putting Bible verses on the banners they hoist at the beginning of football games, out of concern that the signs were unlawful and amounted to school-sanctioned religious expression. 

because he has this quaint idea that people should obey the law.  That is not necessarily the sentiment in the Texas town or in Republican Texas.

Eric Kayne for The New York Times
Kevin Weldon, superintendent of the
 Kountze Independent School District 
in Texas, barred cheerleaders
 from putting Bible verses on banners 
at football games.
Mr. Weldon has had to defend his decision even as Gov. Rick Perry, Attorney General Greg Abbott and scores of students, parents and others have criticized the district’s ban on the signs and registered their dismay and disgust in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. The marquee outside the First Baptist Church quoted Acts 5:29: “We must obey God rather than men.” Steve Stockman, a born-again Christian and former congressman running for re-election in the area, suggested that Mr. Weldon’s job was on the line.

Of course, politicians always jump on a bandwagon like this, never mind the damage to public discourse, respect for the law or the principles that government must not and can not endorse religion.

As for "obeying God rather than men" we assume this means the good people of this Texas town want to do things like stone to death adulterers and other things like that.  Well go ahead people, nothing expresses a person's respect for life and liberty like a good stoning.

As for Mr. Weldon, we see a man of religion who is also a man of principle.

Mr. Weldon, a Protestant and former football coach, has said he supports the cheerleaders and their message, but feels he must uphold the law. Though he has taken a stand that pleases the Anti-Defamation League and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, he is not their ally. Though his action upset the Liberty Institute, a Christian legal group representing the cheerleaders, he is not their opponent. He is caught somewhere in between.

“He made the decision against the popular prevailing sentiment, and he’s been reviled for it,” Mr. Weldon’s lawyer, Thomas P. Brandt, told the judge last week. “He has stood, though, solidly in favor of not what he personally wants, but what he perceives the law requires.”

  which is a very rare combination with fundamentalists of any religious organizations.  And so Mr. Weldon must be condemned by anyone who wants their religion to triumph over freedom.

Everybody have a date for the stoning?  Great, round up the adulterers and let's get on with it.

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