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Victory for Constitutional Common Sense

By David French1372176304000

Yesterday a federal court in Montana ruled that the “Big Mountain Jesus” statue can stay on the slopes.  The statue, erected after World War II as a tribute to soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division who fought in Europe and were comforted by similar statues in the Alps, was maintained on federal land under a special use permit granted the Knights of Columbus.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) challenged the permit’s renewal, claiming that a historically significant statue of Jesus maintained by a private organization on federal land violated the Establishment Clause because it offended three of their members. 

Laughable.

To be clear, this lawsuit is par for the course for the FFRF, which consistently attempts to scrub from public land any recognition of America’s actual cultural and religious heritage in favor of a sanitized, God-free public square that has never existed in American history.

At the ACLJ we filed an amicus brief on behalf of 18 Members of Congress and nearly 100,000 Americans.

The Court quite sensibly found that “not every religious symbol” on public land violates the Establishment Clause and noted that its location on a private ski hill with a plaque showing private ownership would lead the reasonable person to believe that the government wasn’t establishing a religion.

Exactly right.

At the same time, however, it’s unfortunate that Establishment Clause jurisprudence has so decayed that the FFRF can even make a federal case out of its own subjective offense.  But that is a fight for another day.

For now, we’re grateful for the Court’s ruling and will be watching closely to see if the FFRF appeals.

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This week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case involving the Peace Cross, a monument erected nearly 100 years ago in Bladensburg, Maryland to honor 49 service members who gave their lives in World War I. This case, explained in greater detail here and here , will not only decide the...

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ACLJ Files Brief in Support of Bladensburg Peace Cross

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Does a near-century-old memorial cross, dedicated to the memory of local soldiers who perished in World War I, violate the First Amendment’s prohibition against governmental establishment of religion? As we point out in an amicus curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court today, the answer to that...

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Giving Thanks for Our Blessings this Thanksgiving

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“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” – Psalm 9:1 It’s the time of year in America when we gather with loved ones to celebrate Thanksgiving. As Americans we have so much to be thankful for this year – the wonderful blessings of life and...

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