WV Jesus Picture Case Not Over Yet

I thought it might be over the other day when the school board offered to settle and agree not to replace the Jesus picture, but no such luck. The Charleston newspaper reports:

An inscribed mirror has replaced the controversial Jesus portrait on the wall at Bridgeport High School, and civil liberties organizations say it is not acceptable.

Friday afternoon, students associated with the Christian Freedom Alliance donated the mirror to new principal Mark DeFazio.

A brass plate at the bottom reads, "To know the will of God is the highest of all wisdoms. The love of Jesus Christ lives in each of us."

One can only conclude that the Christian Freedom Alliance are a bunch of fools. It is certainly for more constitutionally dubious to have the school hang a specifically declaration of religious belief in their halls than just a picture of Jesus. This makes the case against the school stronger, not weaker. And as the paper reports, this violates the consent decree agreed upon to dismiss the suit:

Someone stole the painting earlier this month, and police have not recovered it. On Thursday, board members decided they would not replace the artwork if the lawsuit were dropped.

Americans United and the ACLU obliged, offering to dismiss the lawsuit and all legal fees if education officials agreed not to display any artwork of Jesus, religious iconography, endorsements of religion, or a display of "great teachers, philosophers, religious or inspirational leaders."

The school apparently recognized that after their attorney pointed it out to them - how on earth could they not have known that before they put it up? Are they that clueless? - and the school then removed the plaque with the statement on it. Leaving only a mirror hanging in the hallway.

The mirror that replaced the controversial portrait of Jesus Christ at Bridgeport High School has been stripped of its religious inscription.

The lettered plaque was removed on the advice of the Harrison County School Board's legal team around 6:30 p.m. Friday, three and a half hours after the mirror was hung at the school.

"That inscription really blindsided everybody,'' said Harrison County Schools Superintendent Carl Friebel, who learned of it from news reports. "It was the board's understanding that the mirror was to be presented to the new principal, Mark DeFazio, as a show of respect. No inscription with Jesus or God mentioned in it was discussed.''

The school board, however, doesn't seem to be able to settle on what should be quite an obvious and easy conclusion:

Before the plaque was removed Friday evening, school board member Mike Queen described the mirror and the inscription as "very clever and very appropriate.''

Friebel disagreed with that assessment, adding that it was "in discord with the board's unanimous decision to pursue in good faith the dismissal of this lawsuit.''

And naturally, there's plenty of ignorant blather about how removing this picture somehow violates the rights of Christians:

After learning the plaque had been removed, Queen said removing the plaque infringes on the rights of the students.

"Carl Friebel doesn't have the luxury of deciding that alone, though he did it tonight. I don't understand why the board wasn't consulted and why they'd do what the ACLU says to do,'' Queen said.

"But if the lawyers say take it down, I guess we have to take it down. But at some point we have to stop apologizing for being Christians and step up to the plate and do the right thing.''

How does someone this utterly incapable of thinking rationally get elected to a school board, for crying out loud? The situation has nothing to do with "apologizing for being Christians". You have an absolute right to be a Christian; you do not have a right to have the government endorse your Christianity. Your right to religious freedom hinges on the fact that the government has no authority to prescribe or proscribe which religious beliefs they are going to endorse and promote. I say again: if this has been a picture of Muhammed, all of those arguments about religious freedom would be turned into hysterical outrage. Just another example of the rank hypocrisy at the core of accomodationism. It is only their views that need to be accomodated, no one else's

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Shorter translation: "We want our graven images, damn it!"

By DragonScholar (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Regardless of the constitutional issues, it's an asinine inscription. It would more accurately read: "To claim to know the will of God is the highest of all follies."

By Ginger Yellow (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ginger Yellow. Is Gods written Word, the Bible, not the will of God? To know God's will all we have to do is read his Word.

ForChristBible

By forchristbible (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Oh, goody a fundie troll! Ok, answer me this fcb, how exactly does one know the will of a ancient middle eastern tribal myth?

By Crazy Atheist (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Credit where it's due, CA...FCB gave GY's comment a measured response (and if you believe in said middle eastern tribal myth, pretty reasonable one: God writes stuff, and you assume he means what he writes). FCB doesn't seem out to cause unwarranted trouble.

By ThePolynomial (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

This could be a really great civics lesson for these kids. For one day, they should put up a portrait of another deity and see what everyone thinks about it.

Put up a picture of Muhammed? Sure!

Put up some of those Danish cartoons.

By FishyFred (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

Ginger Yellow. Is Gods written Word, the Bible, not the will of God? To know God's will all we have to do is read his Word.

Maybe you can answer me this question: If Satan can speak to men - as he is reported to have done to Jesus in the desert (Matt. something-or-another), then what would prevent him from speaking to Moses on Mtn. Sinai in the guise of a burning bush?

It would certainly not be the last time the Devil had spoken to humanity via a piece of shrubbery - although the current incarnation involves less pyrotechnics, better spin-doctors and a substantially smaller vocabulary.

- JS

Ginger Yellow. Is Gods written Word, the Bible, not the will of God?

Um. As I understand it, no. Jesus is the Word of God in Christianity, and the Bible is just a bunch of books. Hell, pretty much every book has the (human) author's name in its title.

Now, the Qu'ran--that's the written Word of God, as relayed by the angel Gabriel and transcribed by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

I love how people seem to worship a book that is, in most American households, a translation, of a translation, of a compliation, of a translation, of a small segment of the actual books written by Christians stapled on to a translation of part of a book written by Jews.

I can certainly see how they get that it is the indisputable word of God. [rolls eyes]

*editorial note: It may very well be that I missed a translation or seven ... ;o)

By dogmeatIB (not verified) on 05 Sep 2006 #permalink

"Maybe you can answer me this question: If Satan can speak to men - as he is reported to have done to Jesus in the desert (Matt. something-or-another), then what would prevent him from speaking to Moses on Mtn. Sinai in the guise of a burning bush?
It would certainly not be the last time the Devil had spoken to humanity via a piece of shrubbery - although the current incarnation involves less pyrotechnics, better spin-doctors and a substantially smaller vocabulary."

Dude, that's comedy gold, there! Odd how the best comedy is just a reflection of the absurdity of life.

Cheers.