Ohio School District Defies Freedom From Religion Foundation

It isn’t civil disobedience. It’s disobedience of bullies with a word processor.

Refuse to let them tell you what to do.

That’s all it takes to stand up to the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the self-appointed United States Supreme Court in absentia who rains down threatening letters on unsuspecting government officials at laser printer speed.

Just don’t do what they tell you to do.

A case in point is the Jackson Country School District in Ohio. They’ve decided to keep a portrait of Jesus right where it is, despite receiving their personal copy of the ubiquitous FFF threat.

The Christian Post article describing this situation reads in part:

By Anugrah Kumar , Christian Post Contributor
January 12, 2013|2:55 pm

Hundreds of community members hailed a school district in Ohio for deciding to let a portrait of Jesus Christ stay at the hallway of a middle school, which was threatened with a lawsuit by Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“I’m certainly not going to run down there and take the picture down because some group from Madison, Wis. who knows nothing about the culture of our community or why the picture is even there, wants me to take it down,” Jackson County School District Superintendent Phil Howard told WKKJ.

In a Jan. 2 letter to the district, the FFRF demanded the portrait, which hangs in the Jackson Middle School building, be removed, saying it is unconstitutional government endorsement of Christianity.

Howard said the portrait – placed in 1947 by a local chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association – is one of several displays in the school’s Hall of Honor. “We’re not violating the law and the picture is legal because it has historical significance. It hasn’t hurt anyone.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/jesus-portrait-to-stay-at-ohio-school-defying-atheist-demands-88147/#XigDdUag7uk2vOat.99

  • bethel

    They’ll probably lose, though, and the only ones who’ll come out ahead will be the lawyers. The area churches should print up school folders and bumper stickers and magnets with the same image and pass them out to the students. The school would be flooded with the very same image of Jesus, far more so than it currently is, and there’s nothing the FFRF could do about it. Students have the right to personal religious expression in public schools.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I don’t know whether they would lose or not. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sends threatening letters which have frightened public officials from backing down without a fight. The Supreme Court has a long history of silencing public expression of religious viewpoints. It has even gone so far as to allow censorship of student’s personal speeches at graduation ceremonies and such. However, there have been a few signs that maybe the Court is waking up to the fact that it is overstepping in this.

      One thing is certain: The Freedom From Religion Foundation is not the Supreme Court. In my opinion, they much more nearly resemble the Westboro Baptist Church.

  • http://CPUSA.org Marxist

    Yes it is a shame so many schools and institutions are still not in compliance with the law. However if they feel that it is worth the fight to keep Jesus up in their school then bring it on. I help fund the FFRF so that children will grow up in a state where religious propaganda is no longer tolerated hanging in our government buildings. Also the FFRF is doing the school and the complaining student a favor by helping to inform the school district of the law and their responsibilities under it and how the complainants sees the school district is in violation of said laws. Now if the school district feels a picture of Jesus is more important than obeying the Supreme Court and federal law then by all means go down that road that is why we donate money to these organizations so that they can afford to be as effective as possible and we know the only real way to change society is through the courts and laws so that a new generation has it just a little better than we do. The FFRF isn’t trying to scare anyone or to take away religious freedom away from anyone they are just trying to get the school district to honor the law so that everyone that has to use the building is protected from religious endorsement and it has been already established that hanging religious symbols in permanent and non educational circumstances violates these laws and does real damage to those who are in it’s presence. I would suggest the school donate it back to the YMCA they have a lot of cool buildings to hang it up in. I might recommend they hang a picture of their mayor or governor so that the kids know who they are instead. I know you are probably very offended that “outsiders” are telling you what to do, but if you are a US citizen we are all equal under the law. I recommend you just save yourself the effort and take the painting away it will be the easiest and most legal way of handling the situation. As other fellow freethinkers and “nones” join the cause there will be more challenges and more suits until hopefully their laser printers won’t have to print out so much. Just as we saw how slow the women’s, worker’s, and civil rights movements have been historically, the secular movement is slow but steady and will eventually seem like a long lost memory in the collective conscious of Americans where once schools openly disobeyed the law and did not offer equal protection to girls, blacks, gays, and secularists.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Just to be clear here, your email is from the Communist Party, USA.

  • FW Ken

    A communist talking about freethinking, or free anything, is a sight to behold.

  • http://www.patheos.com Deacon Tom

    Whether the school district will win or not is a good question. Contrary to the Marxist’s bogus suggestion, constitutional issues regarding First Amendment religious liberty and speech are not the same as claims of illegal discrimination based on race or sex. The FFRF has zero interest in equal treatment for “secularists.” Rather, as you mention, Rebecca, its approach is to attempt to bully government agencies to remove any symbol or speech regarding religion from the public domain. Take a look at what they attempted in Steuebenville, Ohio, regarding the City Logo that happened to have a small silhouette in the background of its logo of Franciscan University’s Chapel and cross. Does Franciscan Univ have some significance to the history of Steuebenville and to its present economy (biggest employer)? You think? FFRF attempted to stop cheerleaders at a high school from preparing religious statements for games–FFRF lost. FFRF does not want to have a voice in the public square. It wants to eliminate religious speech from the public square. Take a look at the blog for the “Friendly atheist,” also on Patheos, who is a pimp for the FFRF–you will get a good idea about what FFRF really means by “equal treatment.”