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News & Politics News & Politics

Church vs State Battle~

Posted by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:11 AM
  • 763 Replies
5 moms liked this

This Portrait of Jesus in an Ohio Middle School Sparks Major Church vs. State Battle

FFRF Demands Removal of Jesus Portrait From Jackson Middle School | Ohio

A replica of the photo of Jesus that is hanging in Jackson Middle School (Photo Credit: Jackson County Daily)

Atheists are demanding that an Ohio school district remove an image of Jesus Christ that is currently hanging inside of Jackson Middle School. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) claims that the portrait is potentially alienating non-Christian students and faculty, alike, and that it shows a public endorsement of Christianity over other faiths.

Despite these allegations, District Superintendent Phil Howard is refusing to remove the image unless he receives orders from a judge or the school board. The picture of Jesus and its posting is a decades-old student gift and initiative.

Currently, it is displayed in the school’s “Hall of Honor,” among pictures of other well-known individuals. According to WKKJ, the images featured in this hallway depict “influential figures and distinguished alumni.”

“A lot of things are permissible so long as they are student-led or student-initiated,” Howard explained, noting that pupils gave the image, thus allowing for it to hang.

The portrait was given to the school by a group of students in 1947. But after decades of hanging on the school’s walls without incident, the FFRF sent a letter on Jan. 2 to demand that it be taken down, charging that it is a violation of the First Amendment.

The Jackson County Daily reports that an anonymous source likely complained about the presence of the image, sending information about its presence to the Madison, Wisconsin-based organization:

It is believed that someone locally forwarded a photo of the picture to the foundation’s Staff Attorney Rebecca S. Markert, of Madison, Wisconsin. [...]

Markert protected the identity of the person who sent the information and would not divulge any information in regards to if this person was from Jackson. She indicated the foundation is a national membership organization that receives tips about church and state violations from all over the country and that they protect the identities of those individuals who make the reports. She also implied that many of the foundation’s members themselves are somewhat secretive because they don’t want to be outed in their communities as atheists.

In the letter, FFRF attorney Markert wrote that the image turns any student or staff member who does not embrace Jesus Christ “into an outsider.”

“If a large portrait of Jesus were to hang in Jackson Middle School, an objective observer would have no doubt that it had the district’s stamp of approval,” she added (read the full letter here).

FFRF Demands Removal of Jesus Portrait From Jackson Middle School | Ohio

Despite these claims, Howard is doubling down and has no intentions of complying.

“I’m certainly not going to run down there and take the picture down because some group from Madison, Wisconsin, who knows nothing about the culture of our community or why the picture is even there, wants me to take it down,” proclaimed the superintendent.

The debate is currently at a standstill, as the FFRF awaits a response from the district.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/church-vs-state-battle-erupts-over-middle-schools-portrait-of-jesus-christ-unconstitutional/

by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:11 AM
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29again
by Gold Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 2:29 AM
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Has any student in all these long 60+ years ever complained about the picture?  And why would some stranger care THAT much about what is hanging inside a middle school? Would they be as outraged over a statue of Buddha, or if there were a Koran on display?  Why do I have the feeling that either one of those items would not cause nearly as big a problem for the FFRF?

blondekosmic15
by Blonde on Jan. 8, 2013 at 3:05 AM
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When I was a young girl in school no one cared about crosses and Christian pictures in public view. Atheism and freedom from religion organizations obviously gave birth in recent yrs. I'm being a little sarcastic because many yrs ago non-Christians and those who didn't believe in God weren't bent on trying to remove God from secular venues. Recent generations are self-seeking and less tolerant~

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:45 AM
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Quoting blondekosmic15:

When I was a young girl in school no one cared about crosses and Christian pictures in public view. Atheism and freedom from religion organizations obviously gave birth in recent yrs. I'm being a little sarcastic because many yrs ago non-Christians and those who didn't believe in God weren't bent on trying to remove God from secular venues. Recent generations are self-seeking and less tolerant~

I disagree with this opinion.  That people weren't complaining doesn't mean things didn't bother them.  It may mean that they felt so outnumbered that they didn't think they "could" complain.

This is exactly the kind of thing I am referring to when I talk about Christian privileges and preferences.  Christianity has been the supermajority religion for such a long period of time that Christians are accustomed to having references, iconography, pictures, and prayers in secular public arenas and every time one is challenged they feel that they are being "persecuted" or that Christianity is under attack.

It only seems that way because Christianity is the religion that's been so entrenched that those are the religious encroachments that are bothersome in that secular arena.  

If this was happening with other religious iconography there would be just as much pushback.

VeronicaTex
by on Jan. 8, 2013 at 6:59 AM
11 moms liked this

What an inspiring story to read!!!!

May this image remain in the school!!!!

Praise God for this Superintendent!!!

May he remain strong in his resolve!!!!

Veronica


rccmom
by Gold Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:52 AM
2 moms liked this

I think if it was a gift given by the students of the school, it should be allowed to remain as long as no one at the school itself has lodged a complaint. I would feel the same way if it were any religious icon. I think students are a lot more understanding and intelligent than we give them credit for.

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Jan. 8, 2013 at 7:59 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting rccmom:

I think if it was a gift given by the students of the school, it should be allowed to remain as long as no one at the school itself has lodged a complaint. I would feel the same way if it were any religious icon. I think students are a lot more understanding and intelligent than we give them credit for.

I live in a really diverse place.  A picture like this would never be allowed.  Having said that, the student body is very tolerant of all different types of people and religions because they are exposed to them on a daily basis.  They also, if confronted by something like this, would not feel uncomfortable to lodge a complaint.

I am unsure that in another place, less diverse, that a student who experienced discomfort with the idea that the picture of Jesus indicated the the school was of Christ, or given Christian blessing, that the student might not be as comfortable to lodge that complaint.

I am reminded of the student gift of the prayer on the Rhode Island school wall.  That too was a student gift but religious in nature and disallowed.


romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Jan. 8, 2013 at 8:00 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting VeronicaTex:

What an inspiring story to read!!!!

May this image remain in the school!!!!

Praise God for this Superintendent!!!

May he remain strong in his resolve!!!!

Veronica

Should any religious iconography be permitted to line the walls of the public school, or only that which you prefer?

rccmom
by Gold Member on Jan. 8, 2013 at 8:06 AM


Quoting romalove:


Quoting rccmom:

I think if it was a gift given by the students of the school, it should be allowed to remain as long as no one at the school itself has lodged a complaint. I would feel the same way if it were any religious icon. I think students are a lot more understanding and intelligent than we give them credit for.

I live in a really diverse place.  A picture like this would never be allowed.  Having said that, the student body is very tolerant of all different types of people and religions because they are exposed to them on a daily basis.  They also, if confronted by something like this, would not feel uncomfortable to lodge a complaint.

I am unsure that in another place, less diverse, that a student who experienced discomfort with the idea that the picture of Jesus indicated the the school was of Christ, or given Christian blessing, that the student might not be as comfortable to lodge that complaint.

I am reminded of the student gift of the prayer on the Rhode Island school wall.  That too was a student gift but religious in nature and disallowed.


I'm thinking in today's world, most students would not be intimidated by a picture. I think if they are, then there is a lot more than a photograph going on at that school. That then would be the root of the real problem, not the photo, but the attitudes of the student body towards non Christians. Pretty much what you are saying about the diversity factor. I am hoping for the time when we can live in the world and none of us feel intimidated about our religious beliefs by any other group.

romalove
by SenseandSensibility on Jan. 8, 2013 at 8:09 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting rccmom:


Quoting romalove:


Quoting rccmom:

I think if it was a gift given by the students of the school, it should be allowed to remain as long as no one at the school itself has lodged a complaint. I would feel the same way if it were any religious icon. I think students are a lot more understanding and intelligent than we give them credit for.

I live in a really diverse place.  A picture like this would never be allowed.  Having said that, the student body is very tolerant of all different types of people and religions because they are exposed to them on a daily basis.  They also, if confronted by something like this, would not feel uncomfortable to lodge a complaint.

I am unsure that in another place, less diverse, that a student who experienced discomfort with the idea that the picture of Jesus indicated the the school was of Christ, or given Christian blessing, that the student might not be as comfortable to lodge that complaint.

I am reminded of the student gift of the prayer on the Rhode Island school wall.  That too was a student gift but religious in nature and disallowed.


I'm thinking in today's world, most students would not be intimidated by a picture. I think if they are, then there is a lot more than a photograph going on at that school. That then would be the root of the real problem, not the photo, but the attitudes of the student body towards non Christians. Pretty much what you are saying about the diversity factor. I am hoping for the time when we can live in the world and none of us feel intimidated about our religious beliefs by any other group.

I don't think they are intimidated by a picture.

I think they are intimidated by being the one to "disagree", to feel as the outsider if they are not Christian.

The more diverse the group, the less likely for something like this to happen.

Ednarooni160
by Eds on Jan. 8, 2013 at 8:17 AM

I am surprised that the accuser will not announce and/or  be publically announced..unless it's an underaged student..

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