World War II veterans, Congressmen, and concerned citizens met together yesterday to discuss the war memorial statue of Jesus that is the center of an atheist lawsuit.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation calls the nearly six decades old war memorial “a sham” and literally made a federal case of the matter filing suit to have it torn down.
The memorial was placed by members of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division upon returning home as a reminder of the many similar statues that encouraged them as they fought across Europe.
Arnie Funk, a 91-year-old veteran of the 10th Mountain Division, told those in attendance at Monday’s town hall meeting, “I was on the front lines from the time I arrived until the war was over,” and continued, “If they tear that down now I think that would tear me down.”
This war memorial has meant a great deal to the heroes of the Greatest Generation. It should not be torn down but be allowed to stand in honor of those who fought valiantly to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.
As the Missoulian reports, ACLJ Senior Attorney Cece Heil told the group that the Establishment Clause
does not require the government to expunge all religious symbolism, but rather maintain a position of neutrality.
“All the pertinent federal and Supreme Court cases point to this monument not being interpreted as a violation of the establishment clause,” she said.
The statue’s setting – a private ski resort sitting partially on federal land – also does not lend itself to religious activity, she said.
“It is a historical part of the resort, and it has gone unchallenged since its establishment,” she said.
The ACLJ is preparing to file an amicus brief on behalf of Members of Congress and thousands of Americans in defense of this war memorial statue of Jesus. Stand with Mr. Funk, Congressman Rehberg, and tens of thousands of others who are taking action in support of this historic memorial and sign on to our brief today.