A federal judge In New Orleans has ruled that the city of Slidell must take down a portrait of Jesus on the wall at Slidell City Court. While the damages are nominal, the city will now pay legal fees and costs for an obviously unconstitutional act and attack on the principle of separation of church and state. Judge Jim Lamz helped bring about this loss by refusing to order the portrait removed. While it has been a few years since I lived in Louisiana, Slidell did not seem like a city with money to burn. Yet, it seems willing to waste money not only on this litigation but the salaries of the attorneys who told them that they could get away with this obvious violation.
After the picture was challenged, officials tried to disguise an obvious endorsement problem by adding pictures of other “notable law-givers.” The picture is the image as a 16th century Russian Orthodox icon called “Christ the Savior.” Media has reported that the portrait was originally hung, appropriately by a Judge Strain (former Judge James Strain Jr. to be precise).
One wonders what the response would be if another judge decides to hang a picture of Mohammad or Buddha rather than Jesus.
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