Ohio school's Jesus portrait under fire
CINCINNATI — A portrait of Jesus that hangs prominently in an entrance to a rural Ohio public school is in violation of the Constitution and should be removed, a federal lawsuit filed on Thursday says.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the large portrait in 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.
“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 states.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that school Superintendent Phil 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 1947.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.