Monday, August 21, 2006

Does anyone else find the timing of this awfully convenient?

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va., Aug. 20 — A legal battle over a painting of Jesus hanging in a high school here is continuing, even though the painting was stolen last week.

Two civil liberties groups, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the American Civil Liberties Union of West Virginia, filed suit in June to remove the painting, "Head of Christ," saying it sent the message that the public school endorsed Christianity as its official religion.

... The Christian Freedom Fund raised more than $150,000 for a defense fund, including $6,700 raised by students at the school. The board selected the Alliance Defense Fund, a national legal organization founded in part by the Christian group Focus on the Family, was selected as its lead counsel.

... early Thursday the painting, which had been at Bridgeport High School for 37 years, was stolen from a wall outside the principal's office. The theft was recorded by security cameras, but the thief hid his face....

How amazing -- the big guns of the religious Right get seriously involved, and the forces of Satanic secularism commit their most demonic deed yet at exactly the same moment:

The police are still looking for man who stole that painting Thursday morning. Police released surveillance video on Thursday from inside the high school. Friday, the police have released more video, this time from the middle school....

Meanwhile, at a special meeting Friday morning, the board chose the Arizona-based Alliance Defense Fund....

What are the odds? Why, you'd almost think someone involved in defending the painting was trying to generate national attention and sympathy (and possibly money) -- if you didn't know that these were God's chosen people.

The cops have surveillance video of the thief and "15 pieces of evidence," including DNA, but the thief carefully conceals himself throughout the tape.

By the way, we all concern ourselves with whether Muslim immigrants are adjusting to our pluralist society, but maybe it's towns like Bridgeport we ought to be worried about:

Tokens of Christianity, including crosses and religious mottos, can be found in schools and government buildings all over Harrison County. The amenities in a women’s restroom at the Board of Education offices include a leatherbound pocket copy of the New Testament, with Psalms and Proverbs.

No surprise there, of course -- in much of this country, we're a hell of a lot closer to Gilead than we are to Americastan.

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