Portrait of Jesus removed from US school over religious freedom complaint

Public school officials in the small Kansas town of Chanute are trying to find a new home for a portrait of Jesus Christ after a civil liberties group demanded its removal from the town’s middle school.

Local churches and other groups are offering to house the portrait, which had hung in the school since at least the 1950s, and community leaders have been working to defuse anger over its removal.


It never ceases to amaze me how “freedom of religion” is always confused with “freedom from religion”. I hope this school’s graduation rate is the best in the state because if not why is no one complaining about something that actually matters for the welfare of the pupils??

Public schools have to be neutral on the subject of religion. It can neither endorse a religion nor speak out against a religion. It is not proper for a public school to endorse Christianity with a picture in the same way that a poster that says “There is no God” is also not proper.

I would be curious to see what would happen if someone did put up a banner saying “There is no God” at a public school. On what grounds would it be removed on? It’s not endorsing any religion, nor is it promoting any religion. I’m no lawyer, but I would suspect it would be argued as a freedom of speech, and as such it would probably not be removed. But it could be considered to be inflammatory speech or something and be removed on that basis.

Don’t know, interesting…

It would be removed on the grounds that the school could not be hostile toward religion. Most of these cases are already settled on precedent through previous rulings by the courts.

Good. The school shouldn’t be violating the 2nd commandment anyway :slight_smile:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

If its a public school then that’s to bad. There are lots of Christians who would be infuriated if a Satan worshiper were to hang a picture of the devil on the class room wall, or a Hindu hanging up a picture of Ganesh or if a Muslim…oh wait never mind.

While you do not have the right to be free from religion, the government which does include public schools, are forbidden to endorse any religion due to the First Amendment.

The smiley face doesn’t make it any less of a cheap shot.

Where is the civil rights group demanding the picture be put back up?? Why do atheist rights take precedent over Christian? :frowning:

This isn’t a matter of atheism but secularism.

I agree.

But how come the school had had a picture of this guy Jesus up for 50 years and no one bothered until now? There is no 1st Amendment right to being an infuriating busybody…

(Before anyone points it out, infuriating busybodies are vital to democracy…just was this in any sense at all a good use of anyone’s time?)

It’s a violation of the Second Commandment to have a picture of the Christian God:confused:

Secularism is a sort of red herring because ultimately somebody’s values are going to triumph. And what triumphs is a vaguely agnostic, “whateverism” that serious minds are not satisfied with but yet are told makes them “free.”

It’s quite possible someone was bothered before now, just that speaking out was far trickier then than now. Even just a few years ago Jessica Ahlquist received numerous threats after fighting to have a prayer banner removed from her school. But even if no one was bothered until now, that doesn’t mean that the violation should remain simply because it had been there for 50 years.

As far as whether this was a good use of anyone’s time, surely it was an important enough matter to the people who fought to have the painting removed. If a predominantly Protestant school had something up that showed a bias against Catholicism you might likely find it worth the time to have it removed, even if said bias had been in place for 50 years.

The only problem with the banishment of religion from the public schools and government it that it is premised on trying to maintain freedom in a value free environment. It can’t be done.

Agnosticism and secularism are not the same thing. Agnosticism is the lack of assuredness as to whether a deity or deities exist. Secularism says that we are not going to address whether a deity or deities exist. Agnosticism in no way “triumphs”. It’s not a “red herring”. It’s merely a reasonable position to say that the state should not show favoritism for or bias against a religious belief. Neutrality is simply not the same as saying one can’t be certain.

Yes, I agree. My son attended a high school here in Utah where a teacher had a picture of the (Mormon) Jesus hanging on the wall of his classroom and the Book of Mormon on his desk.

there is nothing in the u.s. constitution that prohibits u.s. governments from supporting religion in a generic sense.

in fact, the u.s. constitution requires the government to ensure the free exercise of religion for all citizens.

there is nothing in the u.s. constitution that says the government must make exceptions about who may practice their religion freely. for example, the u.s. constitution does not say that the first amendment only applies to people who do not work for the government. in other words, people who work for the government should be guaranteed the free exercise of their religion, regardless of the time and place they wish to exercise it, just like any other American.

always remember that so long as we allow members of the bar to be judges, our judges will be limited in their decisions by their intense legal training that has prevented them from having the time necessary to form broad knowledge and understanding of reality. in other words, because of their membership in the legal bar, our judges are handicapped and made poorer in rendering decisions.

if people who work for public schools must surrender their constitutional right to the free exercise of religion, those public schools should be deemed unconstitutional and we should come up with another method of assisting parents in educating their children.

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