Group appeals lease for mountain Jesus statue
February 4, 2014
HELENA (AP) — The Freedom From Religion Foundation is asking the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a federal judge's decision that allowed the U.S. Forest Service to renew a 10-year permit for a statue of Jesus that was placed on a northwestern Montana ski hill six decades ago.
In its Jan. 28 brief, the group continues its argument that "a permanent Catholic shrine on public land" is prohibited under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that prohibits Congress from making any law regarding the establishment of religion.
In June 2013, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen said the statue at Whitefish Mountain Resort is more often used as a meeting point and site for photo opportunities rather than a solemn place for religious reflection.