ACLU urges school to remove Jesus portrait

By Deana DeLisio,

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio has filed a federal lawsuit against Jackson Middle School, stating that their display of a portrait of Jesus Christ is unconstitutional.

ACLU members argue that the portrait, which was donated to the school in 1947, inappropriately promotes one religion over others. They and the Madison Wisconsin Freedom from Religion Foundation require that the school remove the portrait and forbid its re-hanging in the future, reported the Associated Press.

“The maintenance and display of the portrait had the effect of advancing and endorsing one religion, improperly entangling the State and religious affairs, and violating the personal consciences of plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states.

On Tuesday night, the middle school conducted a school board meeting that drew 300 people. The crowd was generally supportive of the school's position. Superintendent Phil Howard stated that the portrait holds historical significance to the school, revealed WLWT.com.

“We want to ensure that Jackson City School District follows the Constitution, which includes not engaging in religious hostility by immediately removing part of the ‘Hall of Honor’ display that has been in place for at least 65 years without complaint,” Howard said.

The lawsuit has been filed on behalf of three plaintiffs, identified as “Sam Doe.” Two are parents of children that attend Jackson Middle School, and the third is a student at the school.

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