A portrait of Jesus that hangs prominently in an entranceway at a rural Ohio public school is in violation of the U.S. Constitution and should be removed, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday says.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio and the Madison, Wis.-based Freedom From Religion Foundation say the large portrait at Jackson Middle School unconstitutionally promotes religion. The two groups seek a court order requiring the school to remove the portrait and prohibiting its re-hanging or any substantially similar display in the future.
“The maintenance and display of the portrait has the effect of advancing and endorsing one religion, improperly entangling the State in religious affairs, and violating the personal consciences of plaintiffs,” the lawsuit says.
The suit follows complaints by both groups to school officials, and was filed on behalf of three plaintiffs, identified only as “Sam Doe.” One is a student at Jackson Middle School; the other two are parents with children who attend the school.