The PJ Tatler

Decades-Old Jesus Portrait Kicked Out of Ohio School

This is a news story about the resolution of a legal challenge emblematic of the gradual moral decline plaguing our once great nation.

To set the stage, here are headlines from three conservative news sites that reported on the case, the first of which has the largest photo of the painting in question:

Fox NewsOhio school district agrees to keep portrait of Jesus off wall, pay $95G fine.

The Washington Times Jesus portrait forced off school wall by ACLU lawsuit.

The Daily CallerACLU, Freedom From Religion Foundation pocket $80,000 off Jesus portrait shakedown.

Now that I have piqued your interest, here are facts:

Since 1947, a portrait of Jesus had been hanging in the Jackson Middle School in Jackson, Ohio along with portraits of other historical figures in the “Hall of Honor.”  The Jesus portrait was a gift from a Christian–affiliated student group called the Hi-Y Club.

Then, in February of this year, the ACLU teamed with the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation and sued the Jackson City School District citing in the suit “unconstitutional” actions and charging that students and visitors to the school, “will continue to suffer permanent, severe, and irreparable harm and injury.”

The school district wanted to fight the suit and moved the portrait to the high school where the Hi-Y Club is now based. They argued that the Christian group had a right to display a portrait of the group’s “leader.”

When the Jackson Board of Education was told that the school district’s insurance company would not pay to fight the lawsuit, the Jesus portrait was moved to the high school’s art-room storage area where no one might be harmed and suffer injury if their eyes happened to gaze upon the portrait. However, it was still “in view of those entering an art-room storage area.”

But even partially hiding Jesus in a storage area was still not enough for the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, especially when the portrait was brought out of hiding on May 2 for a prayer meeting and displayed on the school’s front lawn.

On October 4th, the Columbus Dispatch reported:

That (lawn display) stirred up another round of legal filings and caused more delays, James Hardiman, legal director for the ACLU of Ohio, said today.

“This case could have ended before it began if the school had simply acknowledged that it is not the government’s place to endorse one specific religion in a public school that children are legally required to attend,” he said. “This is a basic constitutional principle backed up by decades of case law.”

Messages left today for the school district’s attorneys and for Superintendent Phil Howard were not returned, but in a statement released to the Associated Press, Howard said the attorneys believed that settling was the “best-case scenario” because of the mounting expenses. He said the district’s insurance, not taxpayers, will pay the damages and legal fees.

Last Friday, the case was settled by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley and $95,000 was awarded the plaintiffs.

The payoff was divided among the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation splitting $80,000. Three parents and two students who joined with those groups earned $3,000 each, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The story ends with Jesus forced off school property and there are no reports yet as to where HE will rise again.

So how is this case emblematic of the gradual decline plaguing our once-great nation?

Groups that hate Christianity are emboldened and will continue their purge of the faith upon which this nation was conceived, built, and has thrived.

The Judeo-Christian faith with its ethical code has been the basis of our national moral compass and what we are witnessing in today’s culture and news headlines is its slow and steady demise.

This sad tale about a portrait that hung in a school for 47 years but now causes, “permanent, severe, and irreparable harm and injury” is really about how the symbolic absence of that portrait will truly contribute to “permanent, severe, and irreparable harm and injury” to our nation over time.