Local atheist joins battle against Jesus status on ski slope

A court case over a decades-old Jesus statue at Big Mountain ski resort in Montana will continue, thanks to a local atheist who has joined the fight. (As a former Montanan, I have skied past this Jesus a few times myself, and don't find the sculpture at all inspiring as religious art. However, it is a quirky and somewhat endearing part of the landscape, IMHO.) Associated Press reports:

A lawsuit seeking the removal of a Jesus statue near a Montana ski resort will go on after a national group of atheists and agnostics produced a local member who says he is offended by the religious symbol whenever he swooshes down the slopes.

The Knights of Columbus and four individuals had asked a judge to throw out the legal challenge because the Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation had not named anyone actually harmed by the statue on federal land next to Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Without such a person, the Knights of Columbus argued, the foundation had no right to bring the lawsuit.

So the foundation found William Cox, an atheist who lives 15 miles from the northwestern Montana resort. Cox submitted a statement that says he frequently goes to Whitefish and has skied many times past the statue, which he considers religious and offensive.

See full story here.

Comments (7)

It's worth noting that the statue (freakishly high forehead and all) was erected by World War ii veterans in the 1950s as a memorial to fallen comrades.

Bill Dilworth

Perhaps someone could submit a statement that they find Mr. Cox irreligious and offensive.

Religious and non-religious people alike all need to get over themselves.

Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion. The Knights of Columbus would like to impose their religion on everyone.

A multicultural, multifaith country will have to become more sensitive to how Christianity is but one faith option.


Gary Paul Gilbert

Maybe the Freedom from Religion foundation can erect its own atheist statue next to Jesus, like one of those Darwin fish or something.

A multicultural country already has to accept that Christianity and other religions and even atheists proselytize; that's what "free exercise" already demands. Look, what this guy needs to do is grow up and concentrate on his skiing; it's just a statue.

No, Gary, freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion. Everybody - Christians, Jews, atheists, Pastafarians - has to put up with evidence that (*gasp*) other people do not agree with them. Jehovah's Witnesses may still come to your door, you may be forced to hear the Angelus ring out from the nearest church tower, and you have to pay for your copy of Atlas Shrugged with money that says "In God We Trust." The President proclaims a yearly holiday to thank God for candied yams. Congress opens with an invocation. Freedom of religion does not mean that religion must be invisible. Aggressive atheists may think that it ought to be, and when they found their own country they're free to enshrine that principle in their laws, but that's not how things have ever been in the United States.

Bill Dilworth

I think "Separation of Church and State" means freedom from compulsorarily PAYING for religion, via support of religion w/ tax dollars and/or government property (in this case, "federal land").

A much stickier wicket (IMO) are tax exemptions for religious organizations. I would hate to see my beloved TEC lose its exemptions. But I understand those who, whenever a religious group does something abominable (which is pretty much constantly), scream "TAX THEM!!!!"

JC Fisher

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