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Civil Liberties Group Demands Removal of Jesus Portrait at Kansas School

Civil Liberties Group Demands Removal of Jesus Portrait at Kansas School

A picture of Jesus has been removed from a school in Kansas after complaints that it violates the First Amendment.

Royster Middle School, in the small town of Chanute, Kansas, had been home to the picture since at least the 1950s, according to Christian Today.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) notified school superintendent Richard Proffitt that the picture should be taken down because it violates First Amendment rights.

The FFRF says they took action to have the picture taken down after a Chanute resident approached them, expressing concern over the picture’s presence in the middle school. 

Ryan Jayne, law clerk at the FFRF, stated, “they [the local citizen] were afraid to bring it up themselves so they came to us. In areas that are predominantly Christian, the backlash that non-Christians receive when they speak out against government endorsement of religion can be very severe." 

Many community members, however, are not pleased that the picture has been removed, especially since it has been a fixture at the school for over half a century.

“I'm sick of this," said Jack Lynch, 53, who is a native Chanute resident and remembers the picture at Royster. "This country was founded on Christian beliefs. In God we trust. Now people want to come in and change all that. If they don't like it let them leave," Lynch concluded.

Chanute is currently trying to determine where the picture will go now that it has been removed from the school. A number of area churches and other groups have offered to take it. 

Publication date: August 25, 2015