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For decades now, Kentucky’s Breathitt County Courthouse has featured a painting of Jesus that the artist says cannot be removed:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has been politely urging the County to take it down for years; after all, it’s government promotion of Christianity, but politeness hasn’t worked. While they haven’t taken legal action yet, people in the County are already fighting back.

There was a rally yesterday in support of the painting, which is currently being surrounded by other images so it doesn’t look so blatantly illegal.

Speakers at Tuesday’s rally said removing symbols of Jesus erodes Christian values in society.

“There’s some people who want to get rid of God completely, OK, and the more they get rid of God, the worse things get,” said Frank Simon, a Louisville doctor and member of the American Family Association of Kentucky.

What’s with doctors saying dumb things lately?

No one’s getting rid of God. They’re correctly arguing against government promotion of Christianity. If this were a painting of Satan, maybe Simon would get the point.

“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,” said Mike Bryant, a member of Hampton United Methodist Church in Vancleve who also helped organize the rally.

… unless you’re not Christian, in which case the painting sends the signal that you won’t get equal treatment even in a court of law.

Despite the push to remove the portrait, [Judge Executive John Lester “JL” Smith] says there are no plans to take it down.

That hallway of paintings is supposedly open to everyone, so I’d love to see the Satanic Temple submit a page from the group’s infamous coloring book. Or maybe an atheist artist can submit something that’s both family-friendly and proudly godless. Let’s see how that goes over in a county where being non-Christian is an obvious liability.

***Update***: FFRF has announced they’re looking for a plaintiff in the County in order to file a lawsuit.

(Thanks to Brian for the link)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.