The goal of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the more aptly named atheist groups in America, is to eradicate every vestige of our religious heritage as a nation, and in so doing eviscerate patriotic expression and tributes honoring the heroes that have fought and died for our freedoms.
Upon returning home, American World War II veterans, along with the help of the Knights of Columbus, erected a tribute to their fallen comrades – a statue of Jesus – high atop Big Mountain in Montana.
This Jesus statue war memorial has real historical and emotional significance to the heroes of the Greatest Generation, a significance ignored by angry atheists who want it torn down.
As American soldiers fought their way across Europe defending our liberty, they saw statues of Jesus across the countryside. They built this Jesus statue as a memorial, a reminder of the statues they saw fighting across Europe.
As you can see from the picture below, the war memorial is similar to statues found throughout Europe that these war heroes may have seen as they served their country.
While this war memorial statue of Jesus has been an important part of the local community and has meant so much to veterans and their families, the Freedom From Religion Foundation calls the memorial “a ruse and a shame.”
As one veteran put it, removing the statue would be "a slap in the face of the men and women who served their country and built this community."
The “controversy” surrounding this war memorial, which has stood unchallenged for nearly 60 years, began last year when the Freedom From Religion Foundation demanded that the National Forest Service refuse to renew the recurring ten-year lease of the property the Jesus statue is located on. The Forest Service opened the issue to public comment, and the ACLJ filed a letter on behalf of more than 70,000 concerned individuals supporting the statue. Those comments represented nearly three quarters of the comments that the Forest Service received.
Our letter to the National Forest Service made clear that there is no constitutional impediment to the renewal of the lease for the land on which this historic memorial sits. We wrote, “The statue's history and purpose, its longevity, and its setting all support the conclusion that no reasonable observer could think that renewing the Knights of Columbus' special use permit would be an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.”
In response to this overwhelming show of support for the Jesus statue war memorial, the National Forest Service renewed the lease, allowing this important war memorial to remain.
Yet, following this significant setback to their cause, Freedom From Religion Foundation filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to remove the Jesus statue.
The ACLJ is working with Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, and other Members of Congress to defend this historic war memorial from the atheist lawsuit.
As Congressman Rehberg so aptly noted, “This incredible piece of history has always meant a lot to the local community in Whitefish, but now it’s become an important source of patriotism for the rest of the country.” It deserves to be defended. We are preparing a critical amicus brief to defend this Jesus statue. Please add your name to our brief here.
It is imperative that we take a stand against these atheist assaults on our heritage. Unfortunately, when no one stands up, they win.
We will have more information in the coming days about the ongoing litigation in the case as the ACLJ and Congressman Rehberg are meeting next week.
In many ways this has been a good year at the ACLJ. There is much to be thankful for—we’ve won key, precedent setting victories in court here at home, and we’ve even made progress fighting Christian persecution abroad. At home, we’ve defended the rights of Christian students and professors, won a...
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