Jesus Painting at the SPD: Why It Doesn’t have to Go [VIDEO]
Political analyst and lawyer Royal Alexander talks about the painting of Jesus at Shreveport Police headquarters and demands by the Freedom from Religion Foundation that it be removed.
The organization has contacted the city and threatened legal action saying the painting of Jesus and a number of religious oriented poems are an endorsement of Christianity and therefore illegal.
But Alexander says that the city has legal grounds to let the painting and poems stay. "This is really the key to the situation," Alexander says, "It's all about the context in which this portrait of Jesus or those poems, 'My Stories of Jesus,' they call it , that are also in the same area at the SPD...the key is, how does it appear? Is the portrait, for example, by itself? Can we consider it art? Can we consider it history? Is it there for educational or academic purposes? All those reasons are non-religious reasons which could be (interpreted) as reasons that it could remain."
Meanwhile, here's what the Freedom From Religion Foundation had to say about the SPD situation on their site:
"Our request to the Shreveport, La., Police Department to take down a Jesus portrait is also drawing attention.
"'The Freedom From Religion Foundation has written a letter to Chief Ben Raymond and Shreveport Police Department, requesting that they take down a painting depicting Jesus and remove a series of poems,' states an article on a prominent regional news portal. According to an issued document, a concerned community member contacted the state/church watchdog to report that a portrait of Christianity’s messiah is ‘prominently’ displayed in a police department hallway where members of the public wait to be interviewed by police officers. FFRF says they have also been informed about a series of poems titled ‘My Story of Jesus’ that have been posted in common workspaces.”
The FFE says religious displays such as the one at the police station not only violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, but alienates non-Christian members of the community.