Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Aggressive secularism trumps Christianity in Ohio

Portraits of Our Lord Jesus Christ similar to this one are to be found in thousands, perhaps millions of homes and churches around the world. And in some schools too. One such used to hang in Jackson (Ohio) Middle School from 1947 until... this Easter.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation devoted to attacking all religions and all displays of religious faith, got a student and two parents to bring a lawsuit against Jackson City Schools, demanding removal of the "offending" painting, which they called "an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity". The militant secularists were supported by... wait for it... The American Civil Liberties Union.

Jackson City Schools at first resisted the challenge, saying that the portrait of Jesus was private student speech displayed in a "limited public forum" and was not school-endorsed "governmental speech."

But, at a hearing in the US District Court yesterday, the school board threw in the towel, and agreed to remove the painting. Although they said they believe in the school's right to keep the painting up, they simply can't afford to fight the court battle, nor can they pay for insurance against costs which might be awarded against them.

Today's report from the Columbus Dispatch quotes a statement from Superintendent Phil Howard saying that "our insurance company denied coverage, and we cannot risk taxpayer money at this time."

The painting has now been removed from its place of honour, and placed in a storeroom -- out of sight and, sadly, out of mind.

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