Controversial Jesus portrait gets colorful company

JACKSON, Ky. (AP) – Faced with a complaint over a hand-drawn portrait of Jesus that has hung on a county courthouse wall for decades, a judge executive has gotten other artists to fill the wall with original art depicting everyone from Snow White to MSNBC television host Rachel Maddow.

Breathitt County Judge-Executive John Lester “J.L.” Smith tells the Lexington Herald-Leader ( that he solicited other pictures to hang in order to reinforce that there is no religious intent behind keeping the picture of Jesus. The 1981 portrait by artist Connie J. Combs shows a man kneeling before Jesus.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent a letter to Smith in August, asking him to remove the drawing of Jesus. Foundation attorney Rebecca S. Markert says the portrait is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

Smith has not responded to the foundation’s letter.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.

Categories: News, State News

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