Thousands expected to attend musical program after atheist group - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Thousands expected to attend musical program after atheist group files complaint

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An East Texas community is following through with the performance that caught the Freedom from Religion Foundation's attention.

Last week, the fifth graders at Lindale Independent School District had to alter their musical program because of complaints by the FFRF. Now, with the help of the community, those students will perform the original program on Wednesday night.

The performance that was geared toward a few hundred parents has now captured the support of thousands. East Texans picked up T-shirts printed in support of the original version of  the E.J Moss Intermediate School program called, "In God We Trust."

Last week, Jennifer Cox's daughter and her classmates were informed one day before the show that the script had to be changed after the Freedom From Religion Foundation contacted the school district insisting that they make changes or cancel the show.

"She said that some of her friends were upset because they'd practiced for so long and it was so last minute. They were excited about their program and they were excited for their friends, even the ones who didn't have lines," says Cox.

The show did go on, just not as planned. However, the original version will be performed at the Lindale High School Performing Arts Center Wednesday night at 7.

"We want a big crowd. We want a big statement. We want people to hear and see how the community of Lindale supports our school system and supports our students," says First Baptist Church Pastor, Tom Buck. Buck and the church sprang into action last week to plan Wednesday night's event.

Buck says they're expecting up to 2,000 people and have made plans for the overflow of people since the performing arts center holds about 1,200.

Terry Cox, whose company printed the shirts, says he found support from an athiest in Arizona who was in charge of the art production.

"Here's what he did say to me, 'I don't think it's right that kids are used in a chess game as a chess piece and I also don't believe that because you don't believe in what I do, you should be persecuted, so I'm going to get this back to you in 2 hours.' Then, when I got the invoice, he had actually not charged me any money to do it," says Cox.

Cox says getting shirts printed can take weeks, but everyone, including the man in Arizona, pulled together to get the job finished in days.

"Because of these folks that have attacked this program, what they've really done is open up a firestorm and Lindale, Texas is showing this nation what it means to stand up in the right way and to love people in the way God wants them to be loved," says Cox.

The shirts say, "In God We Trust" on the front and "We support LISD" on the back. More than 750 were pre-ordered and printed. The shirts that aren't picked up and paid for Tuesday night will be on sale at the performance on Wednesday.

"People do believe what they say they believe in. So many people overwhelmed us with standing up for their morals and beliefs and their values and it just made me really proud," says Cox.

People who pre-ordered their shirts on Facebook have until 8:30 Tuesday night to pick them up at the TCBY in Lindale. The shirts that aren't paid for will be sold at Wednesday's performance.

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