Friday night highschool football in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia took a backseat to a battle of another sort in the bleachers and on the sidelines.
Since 9-11 the Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Warrior's cheerleaders have been using scripture verses on the banners that the football team bursts through at the beginning of each game. However, that tradition has been banned by school authorities who fear a hefty lawsuit if they allow the practice to continue. Officials nixed the banners after receiving a complaint from one individual who claims she was offended by the verses. (cheerleaders perform for local news video)
In a surprising turn of events, community members have showed their overwhelming support for the cheerleaders who have since become media celebrities. A local youth pastor, Brad Scott, started a facebook page in their support and organized a rally at a local Chick-fil-a. That rally had to be moved when more than 1,100 supporters showed up. Now in another overwhelming show of support, members of the community showed up to Friday nights football game to cheer the cheerleaders.
Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe highschool says they have sold the most tickets ever to Friday night's game. All throughout the bleachers people sported homemade signs with scripture verses and t-shirts emblazened with the school logo and the words "Warriors for Christ." A few enthusiatic male students even painted their shirtless torsos with the school's colors and a scripture verse. (see raw video footage here)
Jay Spokes brought his entire family out for the event and all were waving homemade cardboard signs that read, "I love Jesus," "Warriors for Christ," and "I am not ashamed of the gospel."
"I think the superintendent reacted a little prematurely in banning the signs, I think it was a knee jerk reaction. They were fearful of a lawsuit and I can understand that," he explained to OneNewsNow. But he adds, "[T]hey should research the laws better and actually put it to question...one person's complaint shouldn't stop the whole communities thought process."
Spokes also attended the rally earlier in the week and has voiced his opinion on the issue to the school board. Lisa Curtis is the Varsity cheerleading coach at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe highschool. She told OneNewsNow that she was grateful for the support of the community and adds that she was "dumb-founded" when she was told her girls could no longer use the scripture verse banners.
"It just amazes me what kind of impact our little Bible verse signs have had on the community...the girls just want to thank everyone who has supported them this week," she continues. "We are getting messages from all over the country and we just want to thank you all."
Many school employees donned scripture verse t-shirts as well Friday night. The football coaches also sported the shirts and just before the game began the football team prayed on the field and closed that prayer with "in Jesus' name." Another rally is planned for Tuesday night's school board meeting.
So it was one ignorant bigot that was offended. Big deal, if you don't like the banners don't look at them or stay home. Why should one person's opinion hold so much clout.
It was wonderful to see how the whole community came together to shut that woman up. I even heard on the news this morning that she doesn't even have a kid attending the school. Sounds to me that she needs to get a life and leave those that have one alone.
I do understand where the school is coming from, they didn't want to deal with a lawsuit, and loss of funds. There has to be a way for the cheerleaders to be able to put those bible verses back on the banners.
I am thrilled to see so many Christians standing up to anti-Christ protestors. They stood up for Christ and that is just fantastic!