Skip to comments.School Sued Over Jesus Portrait
Posted on 07/01/2006 9:48:22 AM PDT by Mobile Vulgus
This is a perfect example of several current psychoses running through the seedy underbelly of our culture today. This one story reveals the selfishness, stupidity, and hypocrisy of the anti-religious as well as utter lack of knowledge about our nation's history and form of government.
A school board in West Virginia is being sued by two "civil liberties" groups -- read that to mean groups promoting just THEIR point of view, the rest of you be damned -- because the school happened to have a portrait of Jesus displayed in the hallway.
Did I mention it has been there for thirty years? So it isn't just something someone threw up recently.
So, the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State have decided that, thirty years after the fact, this whole Jesus thing is all evil and stuff! Imagine the "harm" that has been done lo these many years to children for three decades??
Oh, the humanities!
Now here is the selfishness of the report. This suit was filed by the two "civil liberties" groups on behalf of Harold Sklar and Jacqueline McKenzie, "whose children attended or will attend the school", as the report makes clear. To recap, one parent has kids gone from the school and no longer under the evil glare of that Jesus picture and the other doesn't even have kids IN the school at all!
So, what is preventing the parent whose children WILL attend the school from sending them to a private school that holds better to her atheist line of thinking? Who says she can't move to another school district, one that doesn't have that bad guy pictured on its walls? Maybe this parent might find a school that has a picture of Marx or someone that might hew closer to their anti-religious views?
Still, how is it a support of "civil liberties" to take away a portrait of Jesus to satisfy two people when that portrait obviously didn't offend hundreds if not thousands of others? Are these two people's sensibilities, sensibilities that can be assuaged in a myriad of other ways, more important than that of perhaps thousands of others?
Apparently the Communist founded ACLU and the illogically founded AUSC&S think it perfectly sensible to promote the "feelings" of two people over that of thousands of others.
Hysterical God-haters, many of them.
The real questions are: What other decorations are in that building, what is the procedure for decorating, who is responsible for decorating, and what are the guidelines for decorating?
If there are other types of decorations there, what is wrong with one of them having a religious theme? Is religious expression not permitted while other varieties of expression is permitted?
If so, then that is viewpoint discrimination
Someday some court will order that all the arms on the crosses at Arlington Cemetary must be removed.
Maybe they are actually standing for the Ten Commandments!
Something about "Thou shalt not make...a graven image?"
I think the school should make the ACLU prove it is a picture of Christ or a symbol of. Impossible when you think about it. Case dismissed in a perfect world.
Why don't they just leave it up but call it a portrait of "Bill" or "Joe", or anyone not so damn offensive?
The only way to stop this is to seperate state from schools and the way is vouchers. No one thought anything about government funded schools until over decades the leftists changed the law under the USSC and many people do not understand the slippery slope that started. People need to know the history of how the upside down world happened to put a stop to it.
It is not a portrait of Christ. Just a represenative of christian organizations.<p.
ACLU prove otherwise as it is impossible.
God Bless Ann Coulter.. she called them right.
this whole thing would be so much more civil and realistic if we just have an amnesty for anything religious before a certain date. That would take car of 90% of this crazyness....This is like Stalin removing certain historical leaders from photos.
"You mean like Democrats?"
More people need to wake up and realize that this isn't a movement to stand up to religious zealots. These groups are on a mission to destroy God and the fabric of our society.
I'm reading her book right now. It's very, very good. So glad for all the flack, because now, many, many more will read it and reap.
(The Palestinian terrorist regime is the crisis and Israel's fist is the answer.)
I particularly don't care for any photo of Jesus because personally I believe in the commandment that "thou shalt not make any graven images." And no one knows what Jesus looked like. However, the pic's been on the wall for 30 years and the school administration doesn't care so why should the ACLU & the other communist-run org care? Just another way for these two to butt in where they're not wanted.
Montessori is a teaching method. It has nothing to do with religion one way or another.
This nonsense is so tiresome. Just like we can't call it "B.C." and "A.D." anymore, it's "B.C.E." and "C.E." before common era and common era. What was the historical event that marked the start of the "common era" and the end of the "before common era"...?
But it's not that they're trying to stomp out Christianity, right?
Let 'em f**king sue. Too many school districts and local governments are just rolling over for these a-holes, and I'm sick to death of it.
Time to sue THEM out of existence.
Given the recent attacks upon Christianity the questions arise: what can the Christian do to defend his belief? Should he defend his belief? Why do non-Christians have the "right" to define the rules? Will Christians be happy in their approaching position of inferiority? (Rules are made by superiors for inferiors.
Heh. That's what Paolo Veronese did in 1573. He had painted a Last Supper that portrayed it as a rather wild feast. When the Inquisition got on his case about it, he retitled it Feast in the House of Levi. End of problem.
On the cross?? If its just a picture of somene with a beard...then its also not too provable.
I think that "last supper" portrait is rather amusing, myself. Where the HECK did all those people COME from at this supper? I always thought it was a rather private affair not one thw whole town attended.
Did I miss something? This IS a public school, right?
Oh, my... the looney-birds are out early this time of year!
Barry Lynne, as well as the United Church of Christ, are not in any way associated with Christianity.
Aren't their Christian groups that do not believe Catholics are Christians because "Catholics worship graven images"?
Graven Images, Past and Present
For people today, it can be difficult to see what the problem with Christian art is, or ever was. But it was a problem nonetheless, and a very serious one. So let's set out some considerations and some links about graven images.
The problem is a result of the conflict between two systems which were seen as "true" - Classicism, and Christianity. Both these systems are ultimately spiritual ones, both seek to explain the origin and destiny of the universe and the human soul. Needless to say, they do not agree on all points!
But Classicism was the older system and this has implications. It means that the Classical way of thinking was already well established as a mindset when Christianity became legal and widespread, and therefore Christianity was applied through a Classical filter.
Thus Classicism recognizes truth through orthodoxy (that is through ancientness, repetition, and pedigree). In other words, the longer a thing has been said to be true, and the more prestigious the original author, the more validity it has. That is the first important consideration. Even if we do not regard the tenets of Classicism as true today, they were nevertheless true and binding in the Middle Ages.
Classicism also finds that truth is universal. That is, truth is truth is truth. One truth cannot conflict with another truth. That is the second important consideration. It means that where Classicism and Christianity (which traces its origin to God, the oldest and most prestigious entity in the universe) conflict - something has to be done to reconcile them.
Classicism postulates a channel to and from the divine through beauty (we'll call it Classical Beauty to emphasis its difference from personal taste). It recognizes painting and sculpture as forms of beauty, capable of ennobling the soul and/or manifesting the divine. BUT Christianity has to contend with the Second Commandment which apparently forbids "graven images". That is the main problem: the Church had to find a way to produce images that were not images, paintings that were not paintings, sculptures that were not sculptures.
But there is a knottier problem than this. There is a problem with the actual meaning and intention of that commandment. This problem is, in fact, reflected in the number of different translations and renditions of that commandment - and so it is vital to cite your source when you quote it, exactly as you would for any other quotation: Deut 5.8, or Ex 20.4 - won't cut it. We need the edition too. Check these examples:
The King James Bible renders the text this way:
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters under the earth; you shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
Note the phrase "any graven images". Firstly, the word "any" seems to ban all such images. Then, secondly, the translator has used the word "graven" as his best guess for the real meaning of the original word, pesel or peçel. That word means "image", but is often interpreted as "idol". This interpretation apparently rests on the grounds of this commandment context alone, so let us consider pesel in more detail.
Pesel's root word is pasal or paçal, which means "to cut, hew, or hew into shape" - there is no connotation of idol-making whatsoever, so the interpretation of pesel as "idol" seems unjustified, strictly speaking. The English word "graven" is a fairly neutral term which means "drawn", or "engraved", or "carved". The term graven image therefore seems to be a good one, capturing the literal meaning of pesel (image), and also its root meaning (cut, engraved, carved). So the commandment seems to be that, "you shall not make any carved or engraved images".
But note also the follow-up, "you shall not bow down to them". In this light, it is possible to argue that the intention of this commandment is to ban idolatry, and not to ban figurative art outright. We can see the temptation to force that issue by replacing the idea of a carved or engraved image with the idea of an idol. That does not justify doing so, however!
So how do we understand this commandment? Most of us don't bother much today - we are so accustomed to religious art, and we also know ourselves free to believe or not to believe as much or as little as we like, that it doesn't seem to matter. This whole thing looks suspiciously like molehill mountaineering. To show you that it is not, look at these two links which show today's passionately continuing interest in these problems. (They do considerable violence to their sources - do not copy them!):
Is it Wrong to Use Statues, Images and Holy Objects?
--- not according to the Bible, says the Australian Society of Sts Hilary and Justin.
--- well, if you are a rigorously practicing Christian, yes it is, according to Tom Frisen.
Now notice, those authors use different translations of the text in question, and use them to argue diametrically opposed positions - and neither of them give you their source, either (very unscholarly). So let's look at some more sources:
The New King James Version renders the text differently:
You shall not make for yourself a graven image - any likeness of anything that is in the heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
Note what has happened to that first clause: the word "any" has vanished from it. So the command immediately becomes less all-encompassing, and it becomes possible to argue more strongly that the intention of the command was to ban idolatry, not art. The word "graven" continues as a convenient neutral term. This interpretation would be a useful step towards reconciling the Classical and Christian positions.
The New English Bible is different again:
You shall not make a carved image for yourself, nor the likeness of anything in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them ...
OK, this translator has taken a decision! The neutral word "graven" has been rendered by the stronger word "carved", i.e. "sculpture". By this interpretation, you could argue viably that the commandment forbids sculpture but NOT drawing and painting. Well, that is even more helpful for reconciling the Classical and Christian positions. Note also what has happened to that last sentence. What you now shall not do is quite explicit: you shall not "worship" such images. This effectively deflects attention from the business of the images to the business of idolatry.
But here is yet another version, this time from the New Revised Standard Version:
You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them ...
This translator has taken an even more radical decision. The whole issue of technique has been passed over in favour of the assumed intention of the commandment. The "graven image" has been replaced by the interpretational word "idol", and what you shall not do continues to be "worship". The position is now very clear. Idolatry is banned, and art (whether sculpture or painting) has nothing to do with the case. It is not even mentioned.
Finally, look what the New American Standard Bible makes of the same commandment:
You shall not make other gods besides Me; gods of silver or gods of gold, you shall not make for yourselves. You shall not worship them or serve them ...
Here, we seem to have left translation behind altogether in the name of what we might call "Christian Correctness"!
Notice how each of these translations shifts the terms and interest one degree, until the one at the end has moved very far from the original text. You might want to consider the implications of that.
Just to remind you how far this translation has moved from the original, here is what Young's Literal Translation produces:
Thou dost not make to thyself a graven image, or any likeness which [is] in the heavens above, or which [is] in the earth beneath, or which [is] in the waters under the earth. Thou dost not bow thyself to them, nor serve them ...
Big difference, wouldn't you say?
Now, these are modern translations, but we can assume that the same issues plagued ecclesiastics in the Middle Ages, and that they took the same range of stances in relation to them. That is why it is not enough to present one's most familiar text as if it was the only possible one. You must say which it is, and you must consider the problems of translation, interpretation, and politics.
Yes, I did say politics. The translations I have cited above have a political agenda. After four hours of searching the web for clear explanations, I was shocked to find that all authorities skirt the issue of whether or not figurative art is lawful for the Christian, and focus attention instead on the business of idolatry - sometimes even going so far as to pretend that the art issue does not exist. Why might that be, do you think?
And bear this in mind too. Doing violence to your evidence in the name of correctness, orthodoxy (ring a bell?), or religion, is not scholarship! Do not copy it!
>> This lawsuit to remove the picture of Jesus was initiated by Christians...As strange as that may seem.
The Director of Americans United is the Rev. Barry Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. <<
>> The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination with 1.3 million members. <<
Barry Lynn is a reverend only in the sense that he received a theology degree. He has never served a parish in his life. He spends about ten times as much time ministering to formal atheist organizations as to any church, and he repudiates many core Christian doctrine.\
>Montessori SCHOOLS of course use the godless Montessori method and can be found in ALL the states:<
You are talking out of the top of your hat.The Montessori method develops children who love to learn and has nothing to do with Religion.If anything it promotes self reliance not collectiveism as public schools do.
"Dr. Montessori gave the world a scientific method, practical and tested, for bringing forth the very best in young human beings. She taught adults how to respect individual differences, and to emphasize social interaction and the education of the whole personality rather than the teaching of a specific body of knowledge."
Hmmm. This sounds a whole lot close to what I have heard as a criticism of public schooling by conservatives.
"The Montessori school environment is arranged according to subject area -- cooking, cleaning, gardening, art, caring for animals, library corner, etc. -- children always free to move around the room instead of staying at desks. There is no limit to how long a child can work on something she has chosen."
Isn't this Hillary's view of education?
Basic Lessons: A well-trained Montessori teacher spends a lot of time during training practicing the many basic lessons with materials in all areas. She/he must pass difficult written and oral exams on these lessons in order to be certified. She is trained to recognize a child's readinessaccording to age, ability, and interestfor a specific lesson, and is prepared to guide individual progress. Although the teacher plans lessons for each child for each day, she will bow to the interests of a child following a passion.
Areas of Study Linked: All subjects are interwoven; history, art, music, math, astronomy, biology, geology, physics, and chemistry are not isolated from each other and a child studies them in any order he chooses, moving through all in a unique way for each child. At any one time in a day all subjectsmath, language, science, history, geography, art, music, etc.are being studied, at all levels.
The Schedule: There is at least one 3-hour period of uninterrupted, work time each day, not broken up by required group lessons or lessons by specialists. Adults and children respect concentration and do not interrupt someone who is busy at a task. Groups form spontaneously but not on a predictable schedule. Specialists are available at times but no child is asked to interrupt a self-initiated project to attend these lessons.
Assessment: There are no grades, or other forms of reward or punishment, subtle or overt. Assessment is by portfolio and the teacher's observation and record keeping. The real test of whether or not the system is working lies in the accomplishment and behavior of the children, their happiness, maturity, kindness, and love of learning, concentration, and work.
So, put up pictures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan alongside Jesus, name the gallery "Great Men of Vision", and then watch the ACLU's heads explode.
Well, what was positively looney was the notion that AU has any intent other than obliterating Christianity.
But Pecel doesn't simply mean an image; King James was trying to obliterate an illiterate culture and, therefore, he flat out perpetuated a lie. Pecel is never used in any context in the bible, other than refering to idols. And that is a necessary context for what follows, "or any likeness of anything..."
Believing this means banning any image is like Tommy's response to his step-father saying, "you didn't see nothing, you didn't hear nothing, and you ain't gonna say nothing"; it's a preposterous generalization. The bible is not at all ambiguous that this is not what was meant: the Israelites are instructed to create for themselves an image of a seraphim, and to gaze apon it for healing!
How is that not idolatry? By the iconoclast concept, it plainly is idolatry. But it is not, because the seraphim are understood to be servants of God. Likewise, it was not idolatry for Abraham to bow ("shachah," elsewhere translated as "worship") to angels. The offense is obeying a second will ("diamon," from which we get the word, "demon") besides God's.
It is the right thing to do; the only undemocratic irony here is that the plaintiffs only have standing by imputation.
Another way to look at it is that the ACLU couldn't find an offended member of the active class of students or parents.
But, given the current state of the law, the suit should and will succeed.
Anything else will mock the rule of law.
No such case will be won as long as people continue to worship the law.
You're on the site since June 10.....?
Your comment makes no sense. so maybe you are a troll.
Viking Kitties alert.
It was a joke. Lighten up.
Until we find a conservative version of George Soros, who will fund an organization who's sole purpose is to sue the pants off the ACLU until it is destroyed, we will keep having these small battles with the US's fifth column.