The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling to allow a statue of Jesus to remain on a Montana mountain.
According the The Christian Examiner, the statue, known by locals as “Big Mountain Jesus,” was erected by the Knights of Columbus in 1954 as a memorial to their fallen World War II comrades and as a remembrance of religious shrines they saw while deployed in Europe.
The statue has stood on the top of Big Mountain for 60 years.
In 2012, the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) attempted to get the statue removed. However, the Forest Service, which originally issued the Knights of Columbus a permit to erect the statue, renewed the permit, allowing the statue to remain.
The FFRF then sued the Forest Service and lost, but appealed the court’s decision. In 2013, the FFRF lost the appealed case, and now they have lost their case again, but they say they will once again appeal the court’s decision.
For now, however, “Big Mountain Jesus” is safe.
Eric Baxter, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, commented on the court’s decision:
"Freedom From Religion Foundation wanted to use the First Amendment to erase Big Mountain Jesus from memory, even though it is, as the Court recognized, a crucial part of the history of Montana," Baxter said. "Thank goodness for common sense."
Photo courtesy: en.wikipedia.org
Publication date: September 4, 2015