Town fights to keep Jesus painting in school
Battle over ‘Head of Christ’ reflects wider national debate
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va.,Aug. 20, 2006 (www.msnbc.msn.com) - Tokens of Christianity, including crosses and religious mottos, are found in schools and government buildings all over Harrison County. The amenities in a women’s bathroom at the Board of Education offices even include a leather-bound pocket copy of “New Testament: Psalms Proverbs.”
The board of education has decided that Bridgeport, a town of 8,000 people served by 40 churches, will fight to preserve its decidedly Christian aesthetic.
And they’re not going to let the theft of a painting of Jesus from Bridgeport High School stand in the way of that battle.
Two civil liberties groups, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union, filed suit in June to remove the painting, “Head of Christ,” saying it sends the message that the public school endorses Christianity as its official religion.
The county Board of Education said last week it will fight the lawsuit, promising it would not spend public money defending itself. The Christian Freedom Fund raised more than $150,000 for a defense fund, including $6,700 raised by students at the school.