Judge says Kansas university doesn't have to remove statue deemed anti-Catholic

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Washburn University doesn't have to remove a controversial statue criticized as offensive to Roman Catholics, a federal judge ruled.

Faculty member Thomas O'Connor and a student at the Topeka school sued on grounds of church-state separation against the statue ''Holier Than Thou'' by Jerry Boyle of Longmont, Colo.

The work, on display from last September through June, portrays a jowly clergyman wearing a miter (ceremonial cap) that some say is phallic.

Archbishop James Keleher of Kansas City, Kan., said the statue is ''very offensive'' and makes ''a mockery of the teaching of our faith and of the authority of our church.''

The Wichita public schools have banned visits by Washburn recruiters until the sculpture is removed.

U.S. District Judge G. Thomas Van Bebber said the municipal university did not violate the Constitution and the artwork is ''subject to myriad interpretations.''

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