The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a group that advocates for the separation of church and state, wants a picture of Jesus removed from the Breathitt County Courthouse in Kentucky (video below).
FFRF has been demanding the removal of the portrait since 2013, claiming the religious artwork violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution because it hangs inside a government building.
The portrait shows a man bowing in front of Jesus and the words: "In your place what would Jesus do."
“To put this at the seat of county government is really chilling," FFRF co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor told WYMT. "This sends this message that you better pretend to be a Christian if you want to get any service or justice around here."
Many residents in Breathitt County support the picture hanging on government property, but Gaylor says the FFRF is willing to use legal action to have the Jesus portrait removed.
FFRF recently sent a letter regarding the portrait to Breathitt County Judge Executive John Lester Smith that states in part:
"This picture conveys to all visitors of the Breathitt County Courthouse that Christianity is the favored religion of government ... Any reasonable observer would view this display as an endorsement of Christianity by Breathitt County ... The Breathitt County Courthouse must only serve the secular needs of citizens, regardless of their belief or nonbelief."
Smith is withholding comments until he speaks to the county attorney.