Jackson County School District Superintendent Phil Howard is refusing to remove a portrait of Jesus from the school’s Hall of Honors without a court order (video below).
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) had sent Howard a letter claiming that it was illegal and an “egregious violation of the the First Amendment” to hang the Jesus portrait in a public school, reports WCMH-TV.
However, Howard says the portrait reflects the “culture of our community” in Jackson, Ohio.
The portrait was donated by a Christian-affiliated student group and has been on display since 1947.
More than 11,000 people have joined the 'Citizens of Jackson County for Jesus' Facebook group, which was created by Jon Hensler to support the school and the portrait.
Hensler almost wept as he told WCMH-TV: "You wonder in today’s world what our children and our grandchildren are going to have. And it’s good to see that there’s still people in our community that are willing to stand up and speak out for Christ."
Hensler said the spirit of Jesus would remain even if the portrait was removed because “Christ lives within us, we know that.”