Group demands removal of Jesus portrait from Ohio school
Violation of the First Amendment?
- Duration 4:10
- Date Feb 3, 2013
Violation of the First Amendment?
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Sixty years a portrait of Jesus has hung in one Ohio middle school along with other well known an influential people throughout history.
But that may be coming to an end the freedom from religion foundation and the ACLU say it violates the First Amendment and why taken down.
-- now free fair and balanced debate Dan barker co president of the freedom from religion foundation.
And Hiram Sasser for from the liberty institute which is assisting the school district in this matter.
I -- start with skill on the what have you been able to tell the school this point about this demand that the portrait of Jesus has got to down.
Well we've been that tasked by the school district to do AO report and recommendation.
That one of the things that that that we found out is that.
You know this is the backbone of America Jackson Ohio these are hard working folks and they've they've been part of building America.
And they sent a lot of people over seas are world war two and just afterwards they were experiencing a lot of the the whole open -- and -- -- yet.
At an end and looking towards a better future just post World War II.
But suddenly one of the members of the high -- club Christian club there in 1947.
Who's going to be the valedictorian franc rise he died of leukemia.
And that was the year the high why club put the Jesus portrait up.
In this school they hung it up for themselves and even in subsequent years -- taken pictures with it.
To identify with -- with their club.
And so I think -- it's a shame that that the freedom from religion foundation wants to come down and and and and from Wisconsin.
And go to Jackson Ohio tell them they can't have that they -- -- -- can have its Judith portrait anymore in the.
Why are we had a little trouble getting Dan barker who represents that organization on we'll have them up as soon as we can.
But let me just -- responds with this group is saying they say that.
Basically a portrait of Jesus in a public school is announcing two government endorsement of religion.
It violates the first and now and then and there's no way that -- can stay.
-- -- so you know we're in the -- -- processor do on our our investigation but why one thing is is is pretty clear is that.
We we have bay in this case the high why -- -- Christian club that put it up in 1947.
The year that frank writes died of leukemia.
And you know I I think we're gonna be very careful when it comes to dealing with the free speech rights of the -- why club.
And other clubs that may be allowed to deal would have put up portraits and posters.
And yet to be very careful many situations not to infringe upon their free speech rights in their religious liberty rights as well.
I -- a number of school districts around the country -- faced a similar losses at this point were not to the point of a lawsuit in this particular case.
And this portrait as part of a hall that does include other historic people people from the community.
Over the years that are important to this school.
-- but for the average and school districts facing this kind of demand apparently there was a complaint by somebody who was offended by that portrait thought it was inappropriate for the public school.
How does the school way in making these decisions because it's not an expensive to have an attorney I understand your organization -- stepped in free of charge here.
But some school districts that may simply be intimidated and say this isn't a fight we can afford to take on.
Well -- the freedom from religion foundation sends out.
About a thousand letters a year.
Threatening lawsuits but with their small staff and budget they're not able to bring a lawsuit in every one of those are counting on.
School districts deciding that they just want to back down and and give -- without doing a proper investigation that's why liberty institute.
I stands ready to to help any school district that receives one of these letters.
Because we want to be able to do the investigation historical research at the Supreme Court says has to be done.
Before -- any determination can be made as to whether or not portrait like this -- it would be allowed to step.
-- Karen Sasser we thank you for your time our apologies to our viewers that Dan barker from freedom from foundation.
Freedom from religion foundation.
Was not part of this isn't technical difficulties we welcome him we want to share both viewpoints on the story we think it's important.
We will try to do that as soon as possible -- thank you for your time.
I think for having --