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Display of Religious Student Artwork

Does this violate the First Amendment?

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• A federal district court in New York ruled that a public school's display of a student's painting depicting a religious theme violated the first amendment's "nonestablishment of religion" clause. The artwork consisted of a large mural painted in a corner of the school's auditorium by a student in 1965 as part of the school's plan to decorate the arena with original artwork of students. This program was discontinued shortly after this painting was completed. Only two other paintings are located in the auditorium—a picture of an audience, and one of George Washington. The mural consisted of 21 human figures, including the crucified Christ, two other crucifixion victims, John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, the Apostle Peter, Moses, and some gladiators and other unidentifiable figures. The mural also contained a depiction of the 10 Commandments. A family (the father was Baptist and ...

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  • September 2, 1991

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