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.

 

Comments

MiddleRight

Obviously John has his panties in a bunch.
Look, Jesus was a man, who lived and walked on the earth. If you want to remove his picture from a school for "Religious" reasons, then you are recognizing that he was the son of God, so all of the Christians say Thank You. You might remove him from schools, but you can't take him out of our homes.

thinkagain

It’s interesting how some atheists spend so much of their time focusing on something they don't believe in.

Contango

The road to salvation is long and difficult. Be sure to bring along plenty of snacks and magazines.

John Harville

Contango. Salvation is free. What religion taught you otherwise?

Kimo

Re: "What do Catholics call a divorced Catholic? Excommunicated."

not anymore....
.

Contango

What do ya call a cheating or divorced Catholic? A Kennedy.

John Harville

Reallly Kimo? I'll be sure to tell all my Catholic friends who have not yet spent the money and time to have their marriages annulled. Not three weeks ago one approached the altar and was turned away by the priest. So please give me the reference that says s/he still can receive the sacraments.

anthras

John, I really do not think that happened in Sandusky unless there is more to the story than what you have told. I do attend daily mass and weekly Bible study and spend time reading the "Catechism of The Catholic Church", I am also a eucharistic minister and I have never refused anyone. If someone would receive knowing that they should not then they will pay for that.

I will ask Pateras Joe tomorrow and I would be willing to bet that no one was turned away for that reason alone.
According to the catechism book that I have rule #2383 states that divorced Catholics can receive the eucharist. If they are then remarried out side of the church then of course they should not receive.

KnuckleDragger

Don't exect John to reply since you are able to prove that Mr Knowitall, really is just talking out of his backside again.

Kimo

In some schools in Michigan the majority of the students are Muslim.

Start the day with a pledge and a prayer rug........

Be careful what you pray for.....
.

rickross2

I think that a picture of Jesus should hang in every classroom in the country. If you dont like it, get the heck out of this country! Our founding fathers wouldnt want it any other way. Neither do I!!!! I say close the borders and remove anyone who wasnt born on U.S. soil.(including Obama)

The Big Dog's back

Yeah, let's get rid of john mccain since he wasn't born on U S soil. And last I knew Hawaii was a state in 1962.

shucks

Trueness

OSUBuckeye59

@rickross,

Our Founding Fathers wouldn't necessarily have supported a picture of Jesus hanging in every classroom in our country. If the Founders had truly been devout Christians, they would never have written a wholly secular document, that document being our Constitution. Contemporary documents of the time, everything from personal correspondences up to colonial proclamations and legal code, included references to the Christian faith. The Founders broke with centuries of tradition and wrote the first secular constitution in the world - a constitution which has given rise and protection to a plurality of competing faiths.

"Question with boldness even the existence of a god." - Thomas Jefferson (letter to Peter Carr, 10 August 1787)

“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.” Benjamin Franklin

"Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together." John Madison.

John Harville

rickross. I think Thomas Jefferson (Deist) and the Unitarians would disagree - they don't recognize Jesus as God. Many of the Presbyterians believed in slavery (even right here in Erie County).
Remove ANYONE who wasn't born on U.S. soil? Does that include their descendants? From where did YOUR ancestors emigrate. When?

coasterfan

Actually, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were either atheists, agnostics or deists. Their anti-Christian comments cannot be interpreted any other way. Separation of church and state was decidedly the prevailing point of view among our Founding Fathers.

Randy_Marsh

How about instead of a picture of Jesus or any other diety, We put up huge copys of the Constitution and the bill of rights so the children will learn what rights they will lose if the continue to vote for the messiah in washington.

John Harville

Randy.. the 'original' Constitution and Bill of Rights? Or the one that has been amended 28 times (including the 18 AFTER 1791?)
What rights will the children lose?

coasterfan

What are your thoughts, I'm wondering, about the Patriot Act, the biggest intrusion on our Constitutional rights over the past 200 years? You are aware that it was a Republican president who enacted that one, right.

Randy_Marsh

@Coaster
I am well aware that bush instituted the patriot act, I am also aware you approve of it as long as Obama is in office. I on the other hand think they both need held for treason. So please save your "Its his fault" BS while campaigning for Obama who has not only kept but expanded these atrocious policys.
(Oh, What rights will they lose? They are advocating for killing citizens without a trial, That about sums it up for the rest of your rights dont you think?)

goofus

Obozo kept all the aspects and enhanced them!!!!!
Have you heard Obozo's drones flying overhead yet???????

The Big Dog's back

Maybe you should read the Constitution. Obama can't run any more.

Randy_Marsh

http://www.factcheck.org/2009/06...
Not if the messiahs lacky get their way. You people want a god in washington, Just admit it. Without the golden one telling you when to breath you would be completely lost.
Contango
Tue, 01/22/2013 - 12:44pm
According to Newsweek, Pres. Obama IS the Messiah:
http://newsbusters.org/blogs/bre...
The Big Dog's back
Tue, 01/22/2013 - 3:56pm
Yes He is!

9299

And here I thought all along that Ronald Reagan was the be all to end all!

The Big Dog's back

22nd Amendment marshy.

John Harville

In all fairness, there is a small movement afoot to repeal the 22nd - which was put in place by Republicans after FDR saved the nation and the world and voters kept re-electing him.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I would support that if there was a replacement to it to term limit not just the president but other positions in Congress and perhaps even the Supreme Court. One option would give each president one six-year term or keep a possible two terms of four years each. Members of Congress could abide by similar, maybe with an exception of two six-years or three four-years. Supreme Court Justices...hmmm...can't give a suggestion for that right now. I understand why the appointments are for a lifetime but maybe a 20-something year term to buffer against generational charisma and populism?

Since we are cleaning constitutional house it would be nice to increase the number of U.S. Representatives we have, perhaps tie it to a population figure/percentage, and put the Senate back into being the house of the states (state legislature appointees/election) instead of house of the people "same thing but different edition".

This prevents stagnation of money, ideas, and clout and gets rid of GOBs. Think of all the money "saved" from senatorial races alone! Plus it lets newer, younger minds passing through more frequently. Also a "None of the Above" choice on a ballot would be nice should the people find a lack of faith and confidence in the selection. If it forced out the front-runners it may actually encourage more people to vote since their voice would be heard even if it was one of dissatisfaction.

Randy_Marsh

@Dog
Cant read a link huh?

The Big Dog's back

It doesn't matter what the link says. Do you know what it takes to get an amendment passed or removed?

Randy_Marsh

@Dog
They do not need to remove it to ignore it.And given a chance thats exactly what you worshippers would do, Lord knows you already approve of his ignoring the 5th,6th amendments so why would you not approve of them just ignoring the 22nd? Anti American obamabots are as close as you can come to a terrorist with them undermining the law of the land and blood thirst against fellow citizens.

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