Sorry Atheists: Jesus Statue Stays

Forest Service Reverses Decision To Remove Jesus Statue From Public Land

So it would seem as if those wicked ‘freethinkers’ (atheists, agnostics), will not be getting their way, at least, not this time:

The United States Forest Service reversed its decision to force the removal a statue of Jesus Christ standing on public land after learning about the statue’s historical significance, according to a press release sent Friday. Forest Service officials said they are seeking public comment and that the statue will remain where it is until they hold a special hearing on the issue.

The Kalispell based service group Knights of Columbus acquired a special permit in 1953 to build the statue on forest service land on Big Mountain overlooking Whitefish. Officials decided initially in August to force the statue’s removal after an out of state non-profit complained that the statue’s location on public land violated the constitution. That group, the Wisconsin based Freedom from Religion Foundation, told NBC Montana they are prepared to take the issue to court if the statue isn’t moved.

NBC Montana dug a little deeper. According to tax statements, the group is run out of Madison, Wisconsin and reports almost $6 million in assets.

On their website, FFRF takes credit for ending bible classes at a public school in Tennessee, for stopping the government from making Good Friday a federal holiday, and for keeping a state capital from funding a nativity pageant. Just like the Big Mountain statue, all were fought over the separation of church and state.

“We cannot seed federal property to the Knights of Columbus to put up a huge, proselytizing statue,” said Co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor The only way to keep everybody happy, the way to protect every body’s rights, is for the government to stay out of the religion business.”

Fox has this nice photo of the spot: