Judge rules against removal of anti-Catholic statue on university campus
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A federal judge in Kansas has ruled that Washburn University did not violate the constitution by prominently displaying a sculpture that depicts a Catholic bishop with a grotesque facial expression, wearing a miter that resembles a phallus. The Thomas More Law Center brought the lawsuit on behalf of Thomas O’Connor, a Washburn professor of 39 years, and Andrew Strobl, a senior at Washburn, after the university refused to act on complaints by numerous Catholics, including the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City, and remove the sculpture, entitled “Holier than Thou.”  The lawsuit alleged that the sculpture conveyed hostility toward the Catholic faith in violation of the Establishment Clause

But university president Jerry Farley defended the display as fulfilling a purpose of art: “to engage us intellectually and emotionally.”

In his decision, the judge maintained that Washburn had a secular purpose for displaying this sculpture because “it functions to aesthetically enhance Washburn’s campus, broaden the educational experiences [and] increase the intellectual capacities of Washburn’s students.”

The judge concluded that the sculpture “would [not] cause a reasonable observer to believe that [Washburn] endorsed hostility towards the Catholic religion.”

Robert Muise, the Law Center attorney handling this case, called the decision “very disappointing” and said the centre intends to appeal the decision. “Catholics will not remain silent while their faith is being publicly ridiculed by a government institution,” he said.

This decision and other recent decisions by federal judges demonstrate that “there is a double standard when it comes to applying the Establishment Clause,” said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Law Center.

“The Ten Commandments and the Christian Nativity scene are out, but an anti-Catholic display of a bishop wearing a miter that resembles a phallus is permissible because it allegedly enhances aesthetics,” he said.

“Apparently, the religion clauses protect atheists but afford no comparable protection for Christians,” he noted. “This disturbing trend in our federal courts must be reversed.”

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Cardinal Luis Tagle to Pope Francis
Pope Francis in the Philippines: Manila Welcomes the Pope
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Highlights
Pope Francis in Sri Lanka: Interview with Cardinal Ranjith
Pope Francis in SriLanka: Inter-religious Faith Meeting
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day

Liturgical Calendar

January 26, 2015

Memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, Bishops

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mk 3:22-30


Daily Readings

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mk 3:22-30