Thursday, November 29, 2012

Group Has Standing To Sue Over Jesus Statue On Forest Service Land

In Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Weber, (D MT, Nov. 27, 2012), a Montana federal district court held that an advocacy organization has standing to bring an Establishment Clause challenge to the decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow the continued presence of a statue of Jesus on National Forest Service land within Whitefish Mountain Resort. (See prior posting.) The court found standing because one of FFRF's members had standing to sue in his own right.  The court rejected defendants' motion to dismiss after FFRF filed an affidavit from one of its members who lives 15 miles from the statue who said he is a frequent skier at the resort; he has skied past the statue many times previously and intends to again this winter; and he is a non-believer who considers the statue religious in nature and offensive. AP reports on the decision.