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Jesus Statue to Remain on Federal Land Despite Protests From Atheists
A 6-foot-tall Jesus statue will continue standing on federal land at a Montana ski resort after a judge ruled Tuesday that the religious statue did not suggest any government endorsement of Christianity.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued more than a year ago, claiming that the 60-year-old statue’s location violated rights established by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, according to Fox News. The First Amendment protects citizens from the government making any law respecting an establishment of religion.
The Flathead National Forest can now reissue a 10-year permit statue permit because of U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen’s decision, according to ABC News.
Christensen argued in her ruling that the statue was more of a tourist attraction and a historic image for the Montana ski resort than a religious symbol.
"Typical observers of the statue are more interested in giving it a high five or adorning it in ski gear than sitting before it in prayer," Christensen wrote.
The Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s group, constructed the statue in 1955 after some of the organization’s members returned from World War II and were inspired by religious monuments they experienced in Europe.
Members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation said they would probably appeal the ruling.