Originally Posted by Sam Spade
It's central to whether or not the government is "establishing" religion. Here, they're not providing any financial support, they're not providing any authoritative direction. On what basis can it be said that they're establishing religion, or using the coercive power of the state to advance it?
Just like they can't establish it, the .gov can't prevent its free exercise. When the students decide on it, lead it, participate in it and fund it, how can the government tell them no?
It seems you're making the assumption that there's absolutely no money involved on the part of the school in this. I haven't looked very hard, but from the news stories I've read I haven't seen anything that says the cheerleaders are footing the bill on everything. I did a quick search on Westlaw and there are several courts that have held that cheerleading falls under the governmental function umbrella.
Regardless of the financial issue, coerciveness can still be involved. When you have students that cannot participate in school-related activities without being subjected to religious influence, that's when the issues start to arise (at least from what I've seen). We're not dealing with a couple of students wearing a gay/lesbian shirt. We're dealing with a school-sponsored entire cheerleading squad, posting banners at school-sponsored football games who are likely transported by school-funded buses. If it is creating the environment where a student cannot attend a school-related event without being subjected to scripture from a specific religion, those whining about it may have a valid argument in front of a court. Just playing devil's advocate.