published Friday, October 2nd, 2009

LFO Bible verse 'complainant' denies call for ban

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    Contributed Photo Cheerleaders hold a banner with a Bible quote at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School.

Ringgold, Ga., resident Donna Jackson said she's been wrongly blamed for causing the banning of Bible-verse signs from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School football games.

But Catoosa County Schools Superintendent Denia Reese said she banned the signs after Ms. Jackson called her last week, saying the signs could lead to a lawsuit. The school system's attorney agreed.

The action galvanized the community and prompted a rally Tuesday in support of the cheerleaders. Supporters have been urged to bring religious signs to tonight's football game with LFO rival Ridgeland High School.

Cheerleaders will bring the rest of the signs they made over the summer to an area outside the stadium designated for display. Supporters can take theirs into the stands as long as they're hand held.

Ms. Jackson, a postgraduate student at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, said Thursday in a news release that she "neither intended nor expected her (Mrs. Reese) to take the drastic action that ensued."

"I was shocked, as many of my neighbors in this community were," Ms. Jackson states in the release. "I was further shocked by the attempts to pass that decision off as somehow the result of me complaining about the unconstitutionality of the cheerleaders signs. This is absolutely false."

Ms. Jackson, whose two sons are former and present students at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High, said she contacted the superintendent because of a "school law class" she was taking at Liberty University.

Her call to Mrs. Reese was "in hope of heading off the type of community division that hasty actions have now caused," she said in the statement.

On Thursday, Catoosa County officials released a statement in which Mrs. Reese said, "Donna Jackson called me on Sept. 23, 2009, and made the accusation that the school system was breaking the law and that it needed to be stopped.

"On Sept. 29, 2009, after the telephone conversation, (Ms.) Jackson filed an open records request for financial documentation for the purchase of the supplies used to make the banners," she states.

The cheerleaders said they raised all the money to make the banners.

Local youth pastor Brad Scott, one of the organizers of the Tuesday rally, said the outcome of the controversy was a community unified behind a cause. He said he's had calls and e-mails from across the nation and overseas.

"Good has come from this," Mr. Scott said. "It has taught students to stand up for what they believe in; it's brought the community together. We're not going to back down from the cause."

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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Tax_Payer said...

Liberty University ought to kick Jackson out of school for starting that.

This act does not even compare to what Judas or Peter did.

October 2, 2009 at 12:23 a.m.
azbrown said...

This doesn't compare to what Judas or Peter did? Seriously? The hate and venom that people (and so called Christians) use now is really pretty sad.

October 2, 2009 at 8:42 a.m.
cypressgreen said...

I wonder how many more people than usual will be at the game tonight. They don't care about the school or the players or the game. They'll be there in force to use this as a forum to spread their religion.

October 2, 2009 at 9 a.m.
librul said...

Ms. Jackson should never have had a reason to make a call - the practice should have been stopped years ago. Mr. Scott should be pastoring about tolerance and keeping one's religion a private matter, not encouraging youths to arrogantly coerce others or parade their beliefs in public. That's offensive and precisely what makes evangelicals so repugnant to so many.

October 2, 2009 at 9:33 a.m.
chickamauga123 said...

Cypressgreen: Praise the Lord for Christianity and the blood shed from Jesus Christ. "their religion"-my religion wants you to be apart of it. For God so loved THE WORLD (not just select few)that He gave His only Son so that we may have everlasting life. Don't turn away from the opportunity given to you to receive salvation.

October 2, 2009 at 9:34 a.m.
catcodemo1 said...

When I listened to talk radio this morning, I thought Mrs. Jackson just seemed concerned about the well-being of the school system and the kids. Then, when I read her email exchange with the superintendent, it became very clear that her motive was to cause trouble. Ironically, Former County Chairman Bill Clark was supporting her on local radio last night. I wonder what political endeavor he has up his sleeve over this mess? Perhaps, his "Heritage Republicans" splinter group is behind it all.

October 2, 2009 at 9:36 a.m.
chickamauga123 said...

librul: Your comments are so saddening. To have such passion that is so misdirected is heartbreaking. Use your boldness to stand up for Christ. He stood up for you-even though you turn your back. His love for you never lessens.

October 2, 2009 at 9:37 a.m.
Livn4life said...

Maybe if there are a lot of people there "to spread their religion", it could be because at least they have something they believe in beyond themselves and a lot of our failing efforts to work things out in our own power. I am sad if the game or players do not get their deserved consideration. Yet I am thankful to live in a nation where people came, and still do, to express their beliefs. At one time it could be done openly. Now when something is declared religion by complainers or government we hear that all encompassing cry "Separation of Church and State" and here we go. If ones who do not believe are so convinced their non-beliefs are valid, why are they so threatened by ones who hope there is something better? In the days we live and the ones we may soon be facing, is it not about time we put aside some of our differences and pulled together? I wonder where that man or woman is who can pull us together. I see no one in Washington nor locally who gets my attention. Consider unity in our country, all of us against forces which divide and bring us down. The cause of Christ is not intended to divide. His message is one of peace. Let's start peacing one another.

October 2, 2009 at 9:41 a.m.
una61 said...

Since the LFO cheerleaders are still making up signs, how about one that says, "Jews For Jesus"? Leave it to so-called adults to complicate kids activities. The cheerleader's coach should bear responsibility for this mess.

October 2, 2009 at 9:46 a.m.
catcodemo1 said...

Ironically, Mr. Scott is a part of Bill Clark's political splinter group as well. If they are using God for political gain, may He have mercy on their souls.

And, if Mrs. Jackson had minded her own business, the signs could have been there for 10 or 20 more years. It doesn't become a problem until someone makes it a problem. Now, she has obviously opened Pandora's Box.

October 2, 2009 at 9:50 a.m.
mom4u said...

Maybe Ms. ? Donna Jackson should now attend a school on how to keep her mouth shut. She goes to law school and now she thinks she knows everything. That's what's wrong with the world today, too many big mouths.

God Bless the LFO Cheerleaders!!! And everyone that stands behind them.

October 2, 2009 at 10:11 a.m.
khammons said...

The U.S Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution was written for a reason. The only restriction they place is if the act infringes on the rights of others. Our founding fathers are rolling over in thier graves. Americans need to open up a history book, one that was written before PC became a must in our society. Thomas Jefferson( the author of the Constitution) said "That our country was founded on our ability to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Abraham Lincoln said "The Philosophy of the school house in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next". 52 of the the 56 members who signed the Declaration of Independence were active members of their church.

It is time for the church to wake up and realize that if we do not start taking a stand. If we continue to lie down and allow the world to walk all over us then we are not accomplishing the one thing Christ commanded us to do. Go forth into all the world teach and baptizing and welcome new christians into the world. We have missionaries all over the world and yet we are losing the battle in our own country.

If you are interested in becoming a christian, read below.

Rm 3.23 For all have sinned and fall short of God's glory Rm 6.26 Wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. John 3.16 For God so love the world He gave his only son that who ever believes in Him will have eternal life.

All you have to do is admit to God that you are a sinner, that you believe Christ came to earth, died on the cross and rose again as penence for your sins. And give us a call at Oakwood Baptist Church. You can find contact info at WWW.OAKWOODBC.ORG and ask to speak to someone.

October 2, 2009 at 10:58 a.m.
rtwtdw said...

This has been a big mess, now even the area schools are being told not use Bible verse on their signs. My kids go to a Whitfield Co. School and they always use Bible verse's on their Run through signs. The school told the Cheerleaders not to do it anymore because of what happened at LFO, what I don't understand is how Christians seems to be the only ones that people try to stop the most. It must be because it’s the right and only true way and the Devil try’s his best to stop it. Thanks for doing the Devils work Donna Jackson.

October 2, 2009 at 11:41 a.m.
aktuba said...

I know it's hard to believe for many christians, but some of us do not want your religion, or your "salvation". Especially if it means hanging out with pretentious people who feel sorry for the rest of the world because they don't want to join your futile cause. Everlasting life and missionary work are two of the most SELFISH concepts in all of humanity.

October 2, 2009 at 11:59 a.m.
2bfree said...

One of the things that makes this country so great is freedom of religion. Another thing that equally makes this country so great is freedom FROM religion. The Christians that are so incensed about having their religious signs prohibited from the game are failing to realize that this is all taking place on government owned and operated property, and most importantly, during a government sponsored event. The cheerleaders are there in an official capacity representing their school. The Government (the school in this case) is duty bound to provide a religion neutral environment for people there from All religions. That is the "Separation of Church and State" thing that apparently isn't understood by so many Americans. That is also why it is perfectly OK for individuals to wear or bring religious slogans to the game because they are not acting on behalf of the school in any OFFICIAL capacity.

October 2, 2009 at 12:56 p.m.

Illegal? – Liberty Bell’s scripture Leviticus 25:10, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof - Lev. XXV, v. x. By order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania [sic] for the State House in Philada” was state sponsored, endorsed, ordained, & established. So much for 2 Corinthians 3:17 “…where the Spirit of the LORD is there is liberty.” Can there be true liberty without the LORD?

? – Declaration of Independence/Freedom/Liberty keywords/phrases like "CREATOR, Nature’s GOD, DIVINE Providence, Supreme JUDGE of the World".

?- US Constitution’s ordained & established government endorsement of our “LORD” in Article VII.

? – National Anthem’s (The Star-Spangled Banner) last verse sung at public school sporting events because it ends with PRAYER. Keywords/phrases are “Blest, Heaven, Praise The Power, IN GOD IS OUR TRUST”.

? – My Country Tis’ of Thee’s last verse also ends in PRAYER. “Our Fathers’s GOD to thee, AUTHOR of LIBERTY, to Thee we sing. Long may our land be bright, with FREEDOM’S HOLY LIGHT, protect us by Thy Might, great GOD, our KING.”

? – In 1777, Congress facing a national shortage of “BIBLES FOR OUR SCHOOLS…ordered 20,000 copies…to be imported into…the States of the Union” for use as public school textbooks.

? - The Federal Judiciary Act Oath of 1789 or the Oath of Political/Judicial Office ends with "so help me GOD", with one's hand on The Holy Bible was/is meant to show the principle foundations of our government have always been ESTABLISHED on America's JUDEO-CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS Heritage & “We the People” agree to accept this One Truth from The Word of God’s Truth.

? – “This is a CHRISTian nation” by the US Supreme Court’s unanimous & still never overturned decision on Feb 29, 1892, concerning Holy Trinity Church with 87 Judeo-Christian historical precedents in 1 case. Begin reading case at, “But, beyond all these matters, no purpose of action against religion (Judeo-Christianity) can be imputed to any legislation state or national, because this is a religious people.” Best read in it’s entirety.

Illegal? – Judeo-Christian Religious Speech ordained & established by government endorsement. America’s Judeo-Christian Religion was ordained & established, so much for the false premise of ‘The Establishments Clause’ to rid US of the self-evident truths of America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage. Pilgrim Protestants came to America to escape religious persecution by state oppression not to see religious expression suppressed by the state. Illegal? – CREATORism to include the teaching of creationism in public schools. Politics like science becomes its’ own humanist religion when practicing evolutionary fables religiously. Secular humanism is the new age religion practice of politics infecting the judiciary & science so falsely called. George Washington, “What students would learn in American schools above all is the religion of JESUS CHRIST.”

October 2, 2009 at 1 p.m.
DevoutAgnostic said...

This would have never happened in another state. Sad for the kids who are being told what a hellmonger Ms. Jackson is and the sharp tongued christian who leaked this story to the press. I will pray to many different gods for your soul. I love the beautiful south, but small-minded religious fanatics are part of the uncharming side.

October 2, 2009 at 1:20 p.m.
Community said...

Just remember if one religion posts signs then ALL should be able to.

October 2, 2009 at 1:33 p.m.
rtwtdw said...

When none of the other Gods are there to save you I guess you will finally know the truth.

October 2, 2009 at 1:36 p.m.
Community said...

I believe in God and I am a Christian, but I do NOT want other religions posting their scripture around against my beliefs. What ever happened to school spirit just reading "GO FIGHT WIN"??

October 2, 2009 at 1:38 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

Perhaps Kinky Friedman & The Texas Jewboys said it best when they sang " THEY AIN'T MAKING JEWS LIKE JESUS ANY MORE"

October 2, 2009 at 2:15 p.m.
d2edwards said...

It's easy to spot real Christians. They are out feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sharing their wealth with the poor, visiting prisoners, and getting health insurance for the uninsured. They don't waste their time at football games. Real Christians imitate Christ. Jesus would not bash Donna Jackson.

October 2, 2009 at 2:59 p.m.
CollegeGraduate said...


Your post is the overall best one that I've read on this website in regards to this whole situation. I thank you for your intelligence in this matter. Everything you said was true and also the same way I feel, except for the attending the football games sentence. None the less, thank you.

October 2, 2009 at 3:24 p.m.
aluk22 said...

The signs are in bad taste, period. Even a devout Christian could be offended. The signs just don't belong at a football game.

October 2, 2009 at 4:35 p.m.
LoveMyKids said...

The Woman that complained, has also started other controverses in the community involving children. In both cases I feel that she did not do any research in which she needed to see the good in each situation.I think she lives for the attention and loves the controverses. The thing that puzzles me is that in both outburst by Ms. Jackson, neither case directly pertained or affected her or her family, except for the bad publicity. She doesn't even live in LFO.

October 2, 2009 at 4:55 p.m.
TAzGa said...

I think it's funny that Donna Jackson used her company signature on her emails. I wonder if Paradyne Consulting is endorsing her meddling? I can't believe she is lying to everyone, saying that she's not wanting it banned. Why would she be requesting receipts from the school detailing purchase of paper, tape... etc to make the signs? ... and she's doing this with an official request through the FOIA ... Freedom of Information Act ... She has an agenda, and it's not just a friendly suggestion from her law class.

I guess she didn't realize her emails with her email address, phone number, cell phone and all became public property through the FOIA too... it's all been published in the letters released through the school ... lol... duh... WTG Donna. I wonder how many folks have contacted her company at ?

October 2, 2009 at 5:32 p.m.
suzypublic said...

OK, maybe this person didn't complain. I WILL! The law is clear on this matter and this practice should end NOW before a lawsuit is filed and we the taxpayers have to pay for a costly trial with an assured outcome.

Just because people show up for a rally in support of an unconstitutional action doesn't mean there aren't an equal number of people who DON'T support it. Gang mentality is gang mentality no matter who the gang is. No group is more vocal in their opinions than those who deem theirs the only ones which matter.

Intimidation is used by religious zealots as a means to exclude those who do not share their beliefs - to browbeat. Most of those who differ in opinions, whether of another religion or just people who want a quality education in a public school without indoctrination of their kids, choose not to instigate an argument. Some people respect everyone's right of choice of religion or freedom from religion, an equally important privilege. Many probably feel that the school football field is not the place for religion of any kind. But they don't "make waves" because they don't want ire directed at them or to make targets of their children.

Aren't there more important issues in schools than this? How many parents so fervently support excellence in teaching, higher aspirations for graduation rates or acheivable standards for reading levels? Step back and take a look at the big picture, folks. Can't you practice your exclusive belief systems on your own time and quit insisting on forcing them on MY children? They have just as much right to attend their school's football game as anyone, without being subjected to views they find offensive.

October 2, 2009 at 5:52 p.m.
Tax_Payer said...

Paradyne Consulting -- Southeast Division

President - Donna Jackson

Donna Jackson’s career has been centered around education, both at the instructional and administrative levels. She is currently completing her Doctorate in Leadership and Learning. Donna holds an Ed.S. from Lincoln Memorial University where she studied Educational Administration and Supervision. In addition, she earned her Master’s degree in Education from the University of Tennessee and Bachelor’s degrees in Liberal Studies and Sociology from the University of California, Riverside. In 2006, she became a recipient of a Japan Fulbright Scholarship. Currently she operates the Southeast Division of Paradyne, specializing in Proposals, Grants, Education, and Training.

October 2, 2009 at 5:57 p.m.
TAzGa said...

Wtg can cut and paste your previous post. Why don't you also paste the part where you state the Bible is a bunch of fairy tales. I'm glad you have the right to believe what you want and I won't complain about it. On the flipside, you shouldn't complain about other people's beliefs either. No one has ever been hurt looking at a sign.

October 2, 2009 at 7:04 p.m.
TAzGa said...

Congrats Donna Jackson... You were successul in your endeavor. There was no inspirational message on the cheerleader banner. They even took your 'friendly suggestion' one step further and didn't let a student lead a prayer over the loudspeaker. I even got to see a religious banner that a parent brought get torn down the middle. I'm sure you and your god are happy now. Peace Out

October 2, 2009 at 7:45 p.m.

I have come to realize Americans no longer care about the judiciary utilizing false premises to set false precedents based upon lies which is why nobody seems to care when it is now considered illegal to sing the National Anthem's last verse of a poem's song ending in PRAYER at all government sponsored sporting events. The National Anthem aka The Star-Spangled Banner's last verse of a PRAYER has been officially banned by our own government... "Oh! Thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation!
BLEST with victory and peace, may the HEAVEN-rescued land (that's U.S.) PRAISE The Power that hath made and preserved us a nation! (that's HIM!)
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, And this be our motto: IN GOD IS OUR TRUST (Psalms 16:1)
And The Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave (Song of Solomon 2:4) O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!" PRAISE/PRAYS & Worship Written by Frances Scott Key (1779-1843).
Just forget about cheerleaders posting the Liberty Bell's scripture on any banner, star-spangled or otherwise, as all scripture will be banned on public school property.

October 4, 2009 at 12:55 a.m.
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