Thursday, August 27, 2015

Jesus Portrait Removed From School

A middle school in Chanute, Kansas has taken down a portrait of Jesus that hung there for decades after a complaint filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation. As expected, the usual crop of fundamentalist Christians are up in arms, claiming that removing the portrait attacks their religion. And as usual, they are failing to understand that allowing their religious symbols but not others effectively attacks all other religions.

Resident Erika Semey attended the school a decade ago. “Oh man, it’s getting bad,” she said. “That’s what’s wrong with this world. Not enough people have Christ in their lives.” Chanute has a mere 9,200 inhabitants, but 30 churches. The decision to remove the Christian image from a public school has rankled many residents.

Chanute’s school superintendent Richard Proffitt said that he acted quickly when he received a notification from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) that the image of Christ displayed in a public school violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. “We were notified and we responded to stay in compliance,” Proffitt said.

Ryan Jayne of FFRF told the Eagle that his organization has been pleased with the school district’s response. “It’s nice to have people who appreciate the law and get things done (and) who follow the law even if it’s likely to be unpopular in the community,” Jayne said.

Now I personally don't think that kids were really being harmed in any way by a portrait of Jesus. The problem is that with the way religious folks have been up in arms over culture war nonsense, I think that it probably did have to go. It was probably only a matter of time before some fundamentalist teacher had kids reciting Christian prayers, or asserting that Christianity is the one true religion and everybody else is damned. Had the portrait remained, they could have then pointed to it as evidence that they were doing nothing wrong by excluding non-Christian kids.

And this state of affairs is quite honestly very sad. In theory, I think that a school should be able to have a portrait of Jesus or Moses or Buddha or any of the Hindu deities without it being a big deal. But Christian fundamentalists seem to believe that the only way they can express their religion is to deny religious rights to anyone who doesn't share their beliefs. That's just wrong, and ruins religious expression for everyone.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

No comments: