LISD Defends Decision to Exclude Tattooed Jesus

Published 02/25 2014 06:04PM

Updated 02/25 2014 06:11PM

Image from screen capture of
Image from screen capture of
By: James Clark and Kathlene Davis

LUBBOCK, TX -- Lubbock ISD filed a response in court records Monday after the district was sued by the creator of the Jesus tattoo ad campaign.

David L. Miller claimed the district discriminated against him on the basis of religion because the school would not accept his ad during high school football games. Miller claimed that LISD accepted other religious advertising and his was singled out for rejection.

LISD said in court records, “The District is prohibited from authorizing this public religious speech on governmental property.”

LISD does freely admit that it sought out churches and religious organizations to advertise on the Jumbotron at Lowrey Field. However, LISD made a distinction between these ads and the Jesus tattoo ad campaign.

LISD said that it, “made its decision based on the fact that only [Miller’s] advertisements were proselytizing.”

In other words LISD said the Jesus tattoo ads promoted religion in a way that the other ads did not.

Local attorney David Guinn, who is not part of the case, agreed to offer his opinion on the case.

“They made their decision based on the fact that the Jesus Tattoo campaign is proselytizing.” Guinn said, “What will be problematic is where is that defined? Who makes that decision and according to what standard? And that’ll be something the court will grapple with.”

Guinn said another major point LISD is making is that the Jumbotron is for commercial speech, which is different from public speech.

“The Jumbotron at Lowrey field is not a public forum; it’s not a place traditionally available for people to express their views,” Guinn said.

Judge Sam Cummings issued an order Monday saying both sides more or less agree on the facts of the case. In the order the judge describes his preference to decide the case based on an interpretation of law rather than a dispute of facts. Both sides have until Friday morning to object to the judge’s plan.

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