There was a rally outside of the Breathitt County Courthouse in Jackson, Kentucky, on Sept. 22 in support of a portrait of Jesus that hangs inside the courthouse (video below).
The portrait shows a man kneeling before Jesus and the words, "In your place what would Jesus do."
The artwork has hung inside the government building for decades, but the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an atheist group, sent a letter to the county in August claiming that the county government appears to endorse Christianity by displaying the portrait, which should be taken down.
"There's some people who want to get rid of God completely, OK, and when the more they get rid of God, the worse things get," Frank Simon, a member of the American Family Association of Kentucky, told WYMT.
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"It's time, I believe, for Christians to stand for what they believe in, and the picture of Jesus is not doing anyone any harm in the courthouse," added Mike Bryant, who helped organize the rally.
The portrait of Jesus has been joined by other pieces of artwork in a hallway in the courthouse.
"We have open arms to anybody of any religion and of any faith, or people of no faith," Breathitt County Judge Executive John Lester "JL" Smith said.
On Sept. 23, the FFRF announced in a press release that it is seeking a plaintiff to represent in Breathitt County to fight the portrait's display in court.
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FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor stated:
Breathitt County is not a Christian county, the Breathitt County Courthouse is not a Christian courthouse, and the USA is not a Christian nation.
It is just as inappropriate to place a painting of Jesus at the courthouse as it would be to post the words "God is Dead" or "There is only one true god, Allah, and Muhammed is his prophet."
The courthouse should send a message of equal justice under the law and liberty for all. The Jesus painting instead sends an unconstitutional message of endorsement. It proclaims that Christians are insiders and the rest of us our outsiders.