ACLU seeks removal of Ohio school's Jesus portrait

A portrait of Jesus that hangs prominently in an entranceway at a rural Ohio public school is in violation of the U.S. Constitution and should be removed, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday says.
Associated Press
Feb 8, 2013

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the large portrait at Jackson Middle School unconstitutionally promotes religion. The two groups seek a court order requiring the school to remove the portrait and prohibiting its re-hanging or any substantially similar display in the future.

"The maintenance and display of the portrait has the effect of advancing and endorsing one religion, improperly entangling the State in religious affairs, and violating the personal consciences of plaintiffs," the lawsuit says.

The suit follows complaints by both groups to school officials, and was filed on behalf of three plaintiffs, identified only as "Sam Doe." One is a student at Jackson Middle School; the other two are parents with children who attend the school.

School Superintendent Phil Howard, named as a defendant along with Jackson City School District and the school board, was out of town for a meeting Thursday but said through a spokeswoman that he was surprised the lawsuit was filed before the district completed its investigation of the issue. He said the board will discuss "an appropriate course of action" at its Feb. 12 meeting.

The Columbus Dispatch previously reported that Howard said at a school board meeting last month: "We're not violating the law and the picture is legal because it has historical significance. It hasn't hurt anyone."

School officials have said the portrait was donated by a student group and has been in the school since about 1947.

But ACLU spokesman Nick Worner said that while defenders of the portrait cite tradition, that doesn't change its interference with constitutional rights.

"Separation of church and state is one of the nation's oldest traditions," Worner said.

The Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas, representing the school district, earlier wrote to the ACLU and Freedom From Religion, saying the institute was investigating the issue. The institute said the portrait has been in place for some 65 years, apparently without anyone complaining about it.

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for Liberty Institute, said Thursday the lawsuit was premature. He said Liberty Institute planned to present its findings and recommendations to the school board at next week's meeting. He declined to discuss the findings, but said the goal was to make sure the legal rights of all involved were considered.

"It's obviously a delicate balance," he said.

The district is some 65 miles south of Columbus.




“It's been there how long with its subtle message of Christian morality?”

God forbid our children become influenced and contaminated with the idea that they should love one another.


I heard they are going on a campaign to remove all religious icons, and replace them with a “state” approved picture of the “messiah?” Next lawsuit will come from the Muslims removing God and replacing it with “in Muhammad” we trust…………just a matter of time

The Bizness

yes and sharia law shall govern our lands


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

LOL. Do I need to explain an old Vaudeville joke to you?

(Under Sharia Law, hands are cut off for theft - hence "Lefty")

What did you censors think it meant?

The Bizness

That's a good one


My wife left me because of my Athiest ways. I still can't believe it.

John Harville

good one!

John Harville

"If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off..."
---MATTHEW 5:30

Some folks on here probably wouldn't be able to text.

John Harville

Contango... REALLY?
"If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off..." MATTHEW 5:30

Sharia law? Again REALLY?!!!

John Harville

Contango... 'Lefty'... cute.
What did Moses call a non-virgin bride? Executed.

What do Catholics call a divorced Catholic? Excommunicated.

John Harville

Gee. I don't know Contango. Vaudeville... isn't that where Caucasians smeared their faces with burnt cork in Minstrel Shows? Slapstick. It would seem to me your 'joke' was derogatory to an entire religion. But I'm not the moderator..




I said F the ACLU and my post was pulled the other day, LOL :)

John Harville

Sharia Law = capital punishment = different how?


The degree of punishment nimrod, everybody must get stoned

John Harville

Goofus... There you go again with the namecalling. "Degree of punishment?" Different shades of dead? Like in England where the upper class was beheaded while the lower class was hanged, drawn and quartered?
Not all executions are by stoning - though that was the favored method in the days of Moses and -- Jesus. The first martyr of the church was stoned. But... Jesus was crucified.
Stoning in Sharia law is only for adulterers. Iran has outlawed it.


From the person that called fellow bloggers asshats you have the nerve to chastise me for name calling. So are you condoning stoning only for adulterers? Kinda wondering how you feel about the cutting off the hands off thieves? So Iran is a settled down sharia country?

I see you are musically challenged when it comes to old song lyrics and saracasm!!!!

John Harville

Wouldn't a 'state-approved picture of the 'messiah' violate church/state?

Where did you 'hear' such a thing?


They do, his name is Obozo the messiah, keeper of the Kool-Aid.


Nahhhh... Republicans are the keepers of the Koolaid. Theirs is truly a life inside the bubble, in which no facts permeate. When even your own party leaders start saying things like "We need to stop being the stupid party", this is what most would label a Wake-Up Call.


But we allow Muslims a class room and 10 minutes out of the day for prayer......yes that just happened in Dearborn Michigan.

John Harville

And in the same school the other children pray the Lord's Prayer or something similar. That's separation of church and state. In my childhood every Friday a woman came to school and taught Bible class in the classrooms. Catholic children were allowed to go to the library or cafeteria to study.
How would Dearborn parents react if a Muslim teacher made all their 'Christian' kneel with foreheads on the floor and recite Muslim prayers?
Or... what if evangelical Protestant children in a classroom were required by their Catholic teacher to pray a "Hail Mary" or the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer?
Hooray for Dearborn!!!


The secular humanist’s want to hold God’s funeral and bury His moral law along with Him. He's giving us what we asked for: a world where we get to treat him as though he is absent and unnecessary.

Robert Jastrow: "For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."

John Harville

The Triune God is with me waking, sleeping, laughing, weeping, when I lie down and when I rise up and all the milliseconds betwixt. -Psalm 139
Sorry you don't seem to have that.

"This is my command. I command you to love one another as I have loved you." Jesus (also in Matthew)


When you wrote "secular humanist's want to hold God's funeral...", are you referring to God or Jesus Christ?

The single most important belief in Islam, and arguably the central theme of Islam, is that there is one God. The Muslim name for God is Allah. Judaism is a monotheistic faith, meaning that Jews believe there is only One God. Christians & Catholics also believe in God, but they go a step further in the belief of Jesus Christ being the Son of God.


There is only one God, who is composed of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Jews reject Jesus because He failed, in their eyes, to do what they expected their Messiah to do. To the Muslim it is incomprehensible to suggest God needed to sacrifice Himself.

One method to helping both Jew and Muslim relate, is by pointing out that throughout the entire Old Testament, a sacrifice was required in order to be reconciled to God. This explains the need of salvation, sacrifice, and Jesus Christ.

Floyd P

More arrogancy - condemning other religions while insisting yours is right. What would you do if you found out no one religion is right? Switch to atheism? Or check All of the Above? Take your blinders off and think for a moment that there may be a Creator who could care less what you believe in, that we are all in the same boat (not ark) and will end up in the same realm after death regardless of what man-made religion you follow.


Lost and confused is your choice, revel in it. For myself, I will follow Jesus.


Floyd P

You better get busy and find out who the real God is while you're still alive because after you die, it's too late.

I'll you give a big hint, it's Jesus.

bored reader

But, The God of the Bible is NOT the same god of islam!