The Jackson City School District in Jackson, Ohio has a “Hall of Honor” display that is meant to highlight important and famous historical figures. One of the pictures displayed on that wall since 1947 is a portrait of Jesus. Some might say that Jesus is the most important historical figure in history. The ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation would disagree. These two groups see the hanging of that painting on the Hall of Honor as an infringement of the rights of some students in the Jackson City Schools.
The School District found itself as the center of the struggle between religious freedom and overbearing outside groups like the ACLU’s attempts to eliminate Christianity from the public forum. It was not a battle that the Jackson City School District sought, as it was obvious that the portrait of Jesus hanging on the wall with many other historical figures was not a promotion of religious ideology by they school.
Once the complaint was received, the school district chose not to remove the painting, but instead decided to allow students to hang portraits from multiple religions and belief perspectives on the wall.
The reason? School officials say that taking the picture off the wall would be censoring their students’ free speech. “It belongs to the club,” School Superintendent Phil Howard said. “It’s student speech, not government speech.”
The Hi-Y service club “owns” the picture and had decided that they wanted to keep it in the school because “the club is Christian-based and it represents the club and the Christian principles that the club values.”
Sadly, the club has lost their right to associate freely in the public domain. The school district decided not to fight the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation because of the fear of a lengthy and expensive trial. The ACLU continues to use its thuggish tactics to drown out the freedom of Christians to practice their faith freely in the public arena. School Districts and local governments live in fear of reprisal from the deep pocketed and wholly despicable anti-Christian organization, and the ACLU uses this to their advantage, often winning before a trial ever begins.
That’s exactly what happened in Jackson, Ohio.
The school district settled out of court for $90,000 and the promise to remove the picture from their premises. The $90,000 will be split between the ACLU and the Freedom of Religion Foundation for damages and legal fees.
The legal director for Ohio’s ACLU chapter said, “The 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.”
Sadly, groups all over the country continue to allow the ACLU and similar organizations to continue using the same red herring to crush our religious liberties. The idea that the portrait of Jesus on a wall with numerous other historical figures was some kind of endorsement of Christianity is ludicrous.
Their actions imply that Jesus is not an important historical figure, though his life’s story changed the course of human history. The ACLU continues to bend and pervert the Constitution in a manner that befits their philosophical antipathy, and if we continue to allow their nihilistic beliefs to guide how we interact with religious beliefs in the public arena, the only outcome can be the utter repression of religious belief. Particularly Christian religious belief.
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