Liberty Counsel Files Federal Lawsuit to Stop Deltona's Censorship of Religious Art

Feb 17, 2006

Orlando, FL - Today, Lloyd Marcus, the artist whose paintings were censored from a Black History Month display, filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the City of Deltona, Florida. The City failed to reverse its decision after Liberty Counsel sent a letter to Mayor Dennis Mulder and acting City Manager/City Attorney, L. Roland Blossom, demanding that the paintings be reposted in the lobby of City Hall.

The City of Deltona has allowed City employees and local citizens to display artwork to celebrate Black History Month. Marcus, a Deltona resident and President of the Deltona Arts and Historical Center, is a well-known artist, entertainer and composer. His artwork, which was displayed temporarily in the lobby of City Hall, was censored by the City after Mr. Blossom ordered their removal due to their religious viewpoint. One picture displays a partially covered Bible and church sign. Another picture depicts a festive New Orleans funeral, and a third shows a Christmas basket. The paintings are a published series reflecting Marcus's childhood in his father's Baltimore church. Photographs of his paintings are online at www.LC.org.

Although Marcus's paintings were censored, the City continues to display works of other local artists that do not contain religious viewpoints. These works include a charcoal sketch of three famous African-Americans and a pastel rendering of jazz artist B.B. King.

Mathew D. Staver, President and General Counsel of Liberty Counsel, stated: "The City's act of censorship offends all those who cherish freedom of speech. Although Mr. Marcus has a long, cordial relationship with the City of Deltona, he decided to take on the City because he realized this issue transcends his personal interests and artwork. City officials should right their wrong, recognize their mistake and repost the paintings. Religious themes or imagery in artwork depicting black history are protected by the First Amendment. Indeed, religion is a vital part of black history."

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