PJI is sending a demand letter to the Board of the Sacramento County Law Library, a majority of whose members are local judges, demanding that the painting Moral Values be immediately removed. The painting, by San Francisco attorney-artist Jeri Wyrick, depicts a large Bible with a label on it that states “WARNING: ! MAY IMPAIR JUDGMENT.” PJI was alerted about the painting by a local attorney, James Temple. In response to a public records request from PJI, the Library Director disclosed a statement from the artist calling people of faith “stupid.” The statement reads, “Moral Values is based upon exit polls taken at the time of the 2004 Presidential Election, where people who voted for George W. Bush said their main concern about America's future was not terrorism, the war in Iraq or the economy, but moral values--i.e., gay people being allowed to marry. I came to the conclusion that there must be something about religious faith which renders people stupid.” Moral Values does not stand alone in the exhibit as a work that mocks religion.
The painting is part of an art show called “A Creative Merge II: Justice and Peace” which includes two other works by the same artist about the Middle East and Bosnia that are “admittedly anti-religious,” as well as works by other artists entitled Republic of Suicide and Jay Leno at Michael Jackson’s Trial. The library is supporting the artists by offering these paintings to the public for purchase.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute commented, “It is outrageous that our local public law library is actively promoting anti-religious paintings by an artist who calls people of faith stupid. We are demanding that the library remove this blatant violation of the Constitution’s Establishment Clause, which forbids government sponsored hostility towards religion.”