Dear Editor, Of all the things left to us by the constitutional drafters, freedom of speech and the separation of church and state are the most important. Unique in the Western world at the time, these are the two principles of which we should be the most admiring. So, when they come into conflict, resolution can be tricky. On October 18, District Judge Steve Thomas ruled that cheerleaders in Kountze, Texas, could continue flying their controversial Bible verse and Christian imagery-laden banners. Apart from the silly declaration that God might choose a side in a high school football game, there is reason for skepticism here. Whether or not the Constitution expressly forbids such banners is unclear. The First Amendment reads in part, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In this one particular instance, it looks like allowing the girls to continue violates the first half of the clause and forbidding them violates the second. It’s a Catch-22. What makes the matter even wrigglier is that this isn’t school-endorsed, unless you want to bring up the fact that tax dollars paid for the paper and markers. The danger comes from possibly ostracizing and excluding minority students. Our laws and our Constitution are, or at least ought to be, designed precisely with security of the weak and the outnumbered in mind. But it must never become the role of schools to prohibit free student expression. As long as neither the cheer squad nor the school makes any effort to constrain expressions of Marxism, atheism, satanism, environmentalism, or whatever else kids might want to dabble in, I am for allowing the banners. It may seem ridiculous to imagine one lone student standing outside the gates of a football game handing out “sports are the opiate of the masses” pamphlets, but if the cheerleaders can invoke God, it must be not only tolerated, but defended at every junction. I do not get up in arms the way some nonbelievers do about, for instance, manger displays at town halls. I place this roughly in that category of significance. I don’t like it, but I live with it. Ultimately, I think the judge was correct. Freedom of speech is the trump-all virtue, the greatest pillar of our society. In a situation like this, where it seemingly comes into conflict with another important foundational principle, I believe it has to win.