The Lubbock Independent School District scored a victory last Thursday in a First Amendment battle over its rejection of a digital billboard featuring a tattooed Jesus.
U.S. District Judge Sam R. Cummings ruled in favor of the Texas school district, noting that officials were right to reject businessman David Miller's ad for the website Christian website JesusTattoo.org, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Miller, who runs the group Little Pencil, which "promotes the Bible’s teachings through contemporary marketing campaigns," wanted to display his Christian advertisement featuring a tattooed Jesus during high school football games, which the school district rejected in October 2013.
Image source: Alliance Defending Freedom
Claiming that his free speech was being restricted, Miller sued the district earlier this year. The basis for the rejection, officials claimed, was that the ad was a form of proselytizing and that it also violated the district's open tattoo policy, the Christian Post reported.
"Throughout this process, we have asserted that our actions were in keeping with district policies, state and federal law, and we are pleased that the court ruled in favor of Lubbock ISD," the district said in a statement after the ruling. "We will continue to focus on our mission of educating students and hope we can put this behind us and give our complete attention to that important work."
The digital billboard would have included the link to JesusTattoo.com along with a tatted-up picture of the Christian savior (the faux Jesus is shown with the sins of the world tattooed on his body).
The website in question includes a video describing how to become a Christian. As KCBD-TV noted, the clip “features a video of Jesus removing people’s negative tattoos, representing their struggles, and turning them into positive ones.”
Watch it below:
The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm representing Miller, expressed disappointment with the judge's ruling in the district's favor. According to KTXS-TV, the plaintiff is "evaluating ... options for appeal."