CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Two civil liberties groups sued in federal court Wednesday to remove a picture of Jesus that has hung in a high school for more than 30 years.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the West Virginia American Civil Liberties Union say the painting, "Head of Christ," sends the message that Bridgeport High School endorses Christianity as its official religion.
"I frankly cannot understand why this school insists that it is doing nothing wrong," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "This is pretty clear constitutional law. Public schools cannot promote specific religious ideas."
A vote by the Harrison County school board on removing the painting ended in a tie this month.
"At this point, it's a matter that's pretty much going to be up to the board," Superintendent Carl Friebel Jr. said. "It's just going to be very interesting for me to see what the board wants us to do with it."
The suit was filed on behalf of Harold Sklar and Jacqueline McKenzie, whose children attended or will attend the school.