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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
Replies (761-763):
blondekosmic15
by Blonde on Jan. 24, 2013 at 10:56 AM

 

Quoting 1REALQT:

Did you report the nasty comments to the powers that be? It seems to me that it would be in the best interest of the administration to protect such a popular post by removing the bad apples than it would be to force the OP to have to block or delete it, yes?

Yes, I did 4x. They completely ignored my requests. I contacted many of my friends who contributed to my post with positive responses asking for guidance. Much time & effort was put in by many moms from both sides of the political/religious spectrum. The character attacks & insults upon certain posters continued. In fact 1 mom pmed me and left CM. Frankly I was surprised admin did not do anything. The only time this has ever happened to me in the 6 yrs of my membership. Finally I decided...enough is enough~

Quoting blondekosmic15:

 

Quoting 1REALQT:

I have not been a part of an epic long post yet. After reading through a few replies ( 145 or so) I don't think I ever want to.

Due to responsibilities I've had a difficult time keeping up with this thread. A few yrs ago I opened a post about a Cross on a water tower, the atheists wanted to remove it. The responses were more than 4000. A real challenge indeed. Unfortunately, I finally had to delete it. I hesitated for a few days but made this decision because several comments were very nasty and judgmental.

 

rccmom
by Gold Member on Jan. 24, 2013 at 11:11 AM


Yes, that is pretty close to what I said. Jcribb said Ben was a Christian, and posted some quotes of his to prove his Christianity. In those quotes Ben said he doubted the divinity of Jesus. I do not know of any modern Christian church that doubts His divinity. So the facts would argue against Ben being a Christian FF.

Quoting blondekosmic15:

 

Quoting rccmom:


Most Christians today would say that unless you believe that Jesus was divine, and died for your sins, you are not a Christian. Ben Franklin, by his own words, believed in God, and thought Jesus was a very good teacher.

This is Christian doctrine, Jesus' divinity and the Holy Trinity, not only biblical teaching. Jesus reminds us by their fruits you shall know them. When I question a person's sincerity it is because they blatantly disregard the moral teachings of Jesus. I believe you can love God but to truly find Him, Jesus is the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father but thru Me. If Benjamon Franklin denied the divinity of Jesus, this is not to say he wasn't a moral and decent man. His words speak from the heart, a reflecton of his deep respect for God. He awards credit where credit is due.

 "As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in His government of the world with any particular marks of His displeasure.

Other religions believe the same thing of Jesus, that he was a very good moral teacher.

I tend to steer clear of judging another person's Christianity. However, I do not see within his statement of faith that which most modern day churches recognize as a confession of faith in regards to Christianity.


Quoting jcribb16:

I only provided his actual response to someone asking him point blank about his belief in God.  Whether you "are sure or not sure it does not make him a Christian in the conventional sense" makes no here nor there, when his words speak for themselves.

Thank you....

Quoting rccmom:


I am sure Franklin believed in God, but that does not make him a Christian in the conventional sense. 

Quoting jcribb16:

http://thescroogereport.wordpress.com/2008/07/04/benjamin-franklin-credits-god-for-americas-independence/


Benjamin Franklin Credits God for America’s Independence

with 36 comments

If you ever had a question about how big a part faith in a Divine Power had in our country’s heritage, simply go to the Presidential Prayer Team website. You’ll find a section called “Our Nation’s Godly Heritage.”

There is no doubt in my mind about this country’s Godly heritage, but I am blown away every time I read from this section on the site. These Founding Fathers (and politicians) didn’t mince words or fool around when it came to bowing down to something more powerful than themselves.

Praise the Lord for the freedoms we enjoy!

Happy 4th of July!

This from Presidential Prayer Team :

Benjamin Franklin and “Providence” 
Benjamin Franklin loomed as large as any of the key leaders of the movement toward independence. Though many consider Franklin to have been a man of questionable faith in God, he spoke frequently of his belief that God Himself was directing the parties who led the Revolution. In fact, said Franklin, it was God who orchestrated the whole history-making event!

Using the colonial term for the hand of God, “Providence,” Franklin here testifies to his belief that God’s hand was ever active in the birth of our nation:
“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”

Below are two more quotes from Franklin that express his understanding of God:

“My dear friend, do not imagine that I am vain enough to ascribe our success [Revolution] to any superiority…If it had not been for the justice of our cause, and the consequent interposition of Providence, in which we had faith, we must have been ruined. If I had ever before been an atheist, I should now have been convinced of the being and government of a Deity!”
—In a letter to William Strahan, August 19, 1784

“I must own I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence that I can hardly conceive a transaction of such momentous importance to the welfare of millions now existing, and to exist in the posterity of a great nation, should be suffered to pass without being in some degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omnipresent, and beneficent Ruler.”
—On the impact of Independence on generations of Americans during the Constitutional Convention

DIGG story!

http://articles.exchristian.net/2002/03/ben-franklin-quotes.php


Ben Franklin Quotes

"You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavour in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.
"As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the system of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the World ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the Truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and better observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in His government of the world with any particular marks of His displeasure.

"I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, without the smallest conceit of meriting it... I confide that you will not expose me to criticism and censure by publishing any part of this communication to you. I have ever let others enjoy their religious sentiments, without reflecting on them for those that appeared to me unsupportable and even absurd. All sects here, and we have a great variety, have experienced my good will in assisting them with subscriptions for building their new places of worship; and, as I never opposed any of their doctrines, I hope to go out of the world in peace with them all." 


[Benjamin Franklin, letter to Ezra Stiles, President of Yale, shortly before his death; from "Benjamin Franklin" by Carl Van Doren, the October, 1938 Viking Press edition pages 777-778 Also see Alice J. Hall, "Philosopher of Dissent: Benj. Franklin," National Geographic, Vol. 148, No. 1, July, 1975, p. 94]

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"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

[Benjamin Franklin]

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"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not care to support it, so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."

[Ben Franklin, _Poor Richard's Almanac_, 1754 (Works, Volume XIII)]

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"I am fully of your Opinion respecting religious Tests; but, tho' the People of Massachusetts have not in their new Constitution kept quite clear of them, yet, if we consider what that People were 100 Years ago, we must allow they have gone great Lengths in Liberality of Sentiment on religious Subjects; and we may hope for greater Degrees of Perfection, when their Constitution, some years hence, shall be revised. If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine Tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented, not so much to secure Religion itself, as the Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." (Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, from a letter to Richard Price, Oct. 9, 1780; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 93.]
 
Thank you Juju. I appreciate the writings you have shared. A point well taken. Several of the Founding Fathers expressed a genuine respect for Almighty God, acknowledged our Lord's desire to be involved in the affairs of men and women~






 



KamWorthy
by on Jan. 24, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I think there should  be other religions represented as well. This will dismiss any impression of endorsement. Other than that, I think it's great!


Quoting romalove:


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?


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