ASU Admits Constitutional Error in Banning Christ's Cross From Helmets

Arkansas State University football team
Memorial decals are seen on the helmets of the Arkansas State team before a game with Montana State earlier this year. (Courtesy Arkansas State)

In a huge win for religious freedom, Arkansas State University conceded that it made a grievous constitutional error when it ordered its football players to remove a memorial sticker of a cross from their helmets.

Earlier this week American Family Association sent an Action Alert to its more than 1 million friends and supporters, encouraging them to contact the university about the banning of the cross that was flanked by the initials of two team members tragically killed in the past year.

More than 25,000 AFA supporter emails flooded the office of the president and university's legal counsel, urging them to abide by the Constitution and stop its practice of religious discrimination.

"Arkansas State University football players scored a major win for religious liberties today," says AFA President Tim Wildmon. "We asked our supporters to weigh in, they unified their voice, and religious liberty was heard. This is a victory for all Americans to celebrate. We thank the Liberty Institute for their work in this case and for so quickly reaching out to the university. And we also thank Arkansas State University for rightly protecting the religious liberties of their players by reversing their original mandate to remove the cross from the team helmet."

One player called on the services of Liberty Institute, which sent a letter to university president Charles Welch. Arkansas State University leaders quickly saw the error of their ways, and the school has now issued a statement acknowledging the right of ASU's football players to engage in private speech, including speech in the form of a cross-shaped helmet sticker memorial to their former teammates.

The Liberty Institute called the reversal of the decision a "great victory for the players." The team had decided this season to honor two fallen teammates with the cross on their helmets. Markel Owens was killed in a home invasion, and equipment manager Barry Weyer died in a car accident.


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