Updating a story from earlier this week, a the Jackson City School Board in Ohio voted to fight in court demands that a portrait depicting Christ be removed from a Middle School’s hallway. The Columbus Dispatch reports the Board has come up with a clever explanation for why the painting is not an unconstitutional government promotion of religion:
The school board of this southeastern Ohio community asserted at its meeting last night that Hi-Y, a student club, owns the painting — not the school district — and that its display is legal as “private speech.”
The school board voted 4-0 last night to adopt a policy acknowledging a “limited public forum” that permits student groups to own and display portraits of “inspirational figures” at the high school and middle school, where the Jesus painting now hangs.
“It’s not government speech, it’s private speech,” Superintendent Phil Howard said.
If that is the case, that forum within the school should house pictures of any inspirational figure a student club decides to claim, from Lebron James and Lady Gaga to Charles Darwin and President Obama. Presumably, a framed portrait of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is now destined for that wall as well.
Is that the answer?