Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Ohio School Takes Down Jesus Portrait Under Legal Threat

  • Religion Today Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 Apr 04

A portrait of Jesus that had adorned a southern Ohio public school district building since 1947 has been taken down after officials decided they could not risk losing a lawsuit to the American Civil Liberties Union, Fox News reports. The portrait had been in the middle school entranceway's "Hall of Honor" along with other portraits of famous local residents and alumni, and had recently been moved to the high school building. Phil Howard, superintendent of Jackson City Schools, said the decision was made after the district's insurance company declined to cover litigation expenses, and a student club that owns the portrait took it down Wednesday morning at Howard's direction. "At the end of the day, we just couldn't roll the dice with taxpayer money," Howard said. "When you get into these kinds of legal battles, you're not talking about money you can raise with bake sales and car washes. It's not fair to take those resources from our kids' education." The ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation had sued on behalf a student and two parents, calling the portrait an unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school. An ACLU spokesman says the lawsuit remains in effect, but will be dropped if the portrait stays down.