Friday, February 10, 2012

Suit Filed Challenging Forest Service Approval of Jesus Statue

On Wednesday, the Freedom From Religion Foundation announced that it filed a federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Forest Service's recent renewal of a permit for the Knights of Columbus to continue to display of a statue of Jesus near the top of a ski lift at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana's Flathead National Forest. (See prior posting.) The complaint (full text) in Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Weber, (D MT, filed 2/7/2012), alleges that the continued authorization of the statue violates the Establishment Clause. It claims that the actions of the Forest Service "in perpetuating a religious shrine on federal property, give the public appearance of government endorsement of religion, including an unmistakable symbolic link between the government and religion." The suit asks the court to order withdrawal of the permit and removal of the statue from Forest Service property. The American Center for Law and Justice quickly announced that it would file an amicus brief supporting the constitutionality of the statue. The Flathead (MT) Beacon reports on the lawsuit.