Calif. Library Criticized for 'Anti-Religious' Painting

A California public library has come under fire for displaying "anti-religious" paintings as part of its current art show.

The most controversial of the paintings on display at the Sacramento County Public Law Library is called "Moral Values" by San Francisco attorney-artist Jeri Wyrick. The painting depicts a large Bible with a label reading: "Warning: May Impair Judgment."

The painting is part of the library's art show called "A Creative Merger II: Justice and Peace." Wyrick has three paintings on display in the art show.

On the library's website for the art show, Wyrick describes her paintings as "anti-religious." She said "Moral Values" was inspired by the 2004 presidential election when George W. Bush won his second term. She said that exit polls of those who voted for Bush show their main concern for America's future was not terrorism or the war in Iraq, but "moral values," such as gay marriage.

"I came to the conclusion that there must be something about religious faith which renders people stupid," Wyrick explained in the painting's description.

Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute is calling on the law library to remove the painting and its description that says religion makes people stupid. The legal group – which specializes in defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties – has sent a letter to the Board of the Sacramento County Law Library to ask that "Moral Values" be immediately removed.

"It is outrageous that our local public law library is actively promoting anti-religious paintings by an artist who calls people of faith stupid," said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, in a statement Thursday. "We are demanding that the library remove this blatant violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids government sponsored hostility towards religion."

Most of the 63 contemporary paintings on display at the library are available to the public for purchase. The price tag for the paintings range from $175 to $19,500.