Controversial Jesus portrait gets colorful company

AP News
Posted: Nov 17, 2015 7:09 PM

JACKSON, Ky. (AP) — Faced with a complaint over a hand-drawn portrait of Jesus that hangs on a county courthouse wall, a judge executive has gotten artists to install other images of 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 images 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. Foundation attorney Rebecca S. Markert said the portrait is an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion.

Lester did not answer the letter. Instead, he started the informal art gallery.


Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,