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Jesus picture in La. court prompts lawsuit

July 4, 2007 at 6:48 PM

SLIDELL, La., July 4 (UPI) -- The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the display of a picture of Jesus in a Louisiana courthouse.

The Louisiana ACLU is suing officials in Slidell, La., in an attempt to have the religious picture removed from the Slidell City Court lobby, The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Wednesday.

ACLU officials had asked the city to remove the picture by Monday, but city officials left it in place. The ACLU filed its suit Tuesday in New Orleans U.S. District Court, claiming the picture directly violates a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Mike Johnson of the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian group representing Slidell in the suit, said the picture is protected under U.S. laws.

"The ideas expressed in this painting aren't specific to any one faith, and they certainly don't establish a single state religion," the attorney told the newspaper. "The reason Americans enjoy equal justice is because we are all created equal, endowed by (our) creator with certain unalienable rights. This painting is a clear reflection of the ideas in the Declaration of Independence."

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