Tuesday, October 03, 2006


What You Don't Know ...

Things have gone strangely quiet with the Case of the Missing Jesus.

As you may remember, the Harrison County West Virginia Board of Education was sued by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State for refusing to remove a reproduction of Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ" from its place outside the office of the Bridgeport High School's principal. If you don't remember, you can remind yourself here, here, here, here, or here.

Then the portrait was stolen.

Then a mirror with a plaque that said "To know the will of God is the highest of all wisdom. The love of Jesus Christ lives within each of us" was hung in its place.

Then the plaque was removed.

Then case was settled and then it wasn't and then it maybe was or was that wasn't?

Anyway, the last peep out of the hill country, a couple of weeks ago, was that the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the Harrison County School board, has submitted a counter-proposal to the plaintiffs' demands. Those demands are that education officials agree not to display the following:

Pictures, paintings, posters, prints, statues, carvings or other renderings of Jesus;

Any devotional art or religious iconography;

Any pictures, paintings, signs or other items that favor, promote or endorse any particular faith, or any such items that favor, promote or endorse religion over non-religion;

Any display of "Great Teachers," "Great Philosophers," "Religious Leaders," "Inspirational Leaders" or the like that features religious imagery, iconography or devotional artwork.

In exchange for this agreement, Americans United and the West Virginia ACLU will drop the lawsuit and agree not to request attorneys’ fees, costs or other expenses incurred in the legal action so far.

There is no word on what the counter-proposal is but Mike Queen, the school board member who has painted the biggest target on the board's collective toes, chimed in with this helpful comment:

At (Tuesday's) meeting, the board will consider a response to the ridiculous document that the ACLU filed, asking that we sanitize all 26 schools in Harrison County of any Christian symbol or emblem, which is absolutely ridiculous.

Of course, what is ridiculous is that anyone in an elective office of responsibility for the education of children should, himself, be so unschooled in our Constitution as to think that a government display of a Christian symbol or emblem in this context is permissible.

If this case goes to court, it is the children of the district who will learn how far ignorance is from bliss.

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