Usually I have issues with mixing religous messages and football. For example the whole sign issue regarding the high school up the road from Houston. Sorry, the cheerleaders should not be creating 20x20 ft signs with bible verses for the public high school to run onto the field through. That is not the case here. These are private fans in the stands that have a small cross painted basically over their hearts. There are very few people that first would even notice the crosses, I didn't upon first glance. Second, they are not sending any type of direct message or threat (other than this is what Death Valley is like on a Saturday night). The school is getting way more backlash over the airbrushing out the crosses than they would if they had left them in. Yes the government is not supposed to promote or establish any form of religion, but the original photo would not have been a violation of that stance.
@HoustonVol I appreciate your stance on the airbrushing issue. Cheerleaders encouraging the football players with an inspirational religious verse isn't something I'd put into the category of the state establishing religion. I don't think the school board is saying "do this" and it's probably not a requirement of the local city government that it happen. As such, I'd put it more in the free speech and free exercise of religion categories. But I've seen stranger things litigated over. In any event, it seems like society (LSU) is going way overboard to keep anyone from being offended by anything - and ends up offending everybody along the way. I wish we could all express our faith freely and respect those who don't in a civil way. Of course if we figure that out, we can fix the Middle East and have Auburn and Alabama fans get along as well.
@memphispete If the cheerleaders were using a variety of religious versus and statements, and not just Christian, then I would not have issues with it. You also have to remember that in the Texas High school case, all of the signs have to be approved by school administrators, so it is being approved and supported by the local public government authorities. The cheerleaders are defending themselves by saying they have the right to promote their religious views. Also UT is being sued over their pre-game prayers. One difference with UT and pre-game prayers - UT does not restrict the prayers to just leaders of the Christian faith. I brought up theses cases because I am sure this is the mess that LSU was trying to avoid. There is a huge difference between a fan holding up John 3:16 on a sign in the stands and John 3:16 being listed on the the video board by the university. However by trying to not to offend anyone, LSU has basically offended everyone. The photo is a great photo, regardless of the crosses (which I thought were stars at first). It was just a great forehead slapping moment by LSU. Doh!