Judge allows Big Mountain Jesus to stay on the slopes


A federal district judge in Montana earlier today dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation to have the U.S. Forest Service remove a statue of Jesus on Big Mountain near Whitefish, Mont.

The statue, a memorial to those who lost their lives in World War II, was erected by the Knights of Columbus 60 years ago and is known as “Big Mountain Jesus.” The memorial is privately maintained and located in the middle of a commercial ski resort on Forest Service property.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation said the statue could not be legally displayed on government-owned land because of its religious nature.

Rejecting the group’s argument, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011, held that the 60-year-old memorial did not violate the First Amendment.

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