Not much of an update, really, but here it is:
Congressman Denny Rehberg has proposed a land swap to keep a controversial statue from being moved off Big Mountain in Whitefish.
The statue of Jesus has sat on a piece of Forest Service land for more than 50 years. Now forest officials are considering pulling the statue after a group called the Freedom From Religion Foundation complained that it violates the separation of church and state.
Under the plan, Whitefish Mountain Resort would trade a similar plot of land to the forest in exchange for the land the statue sits on.
So the ski resort would own the property under the statue instead of the Forestry Service? I guess that’s a way to get around the complaint the FFRF made but their Co-President, Annie Laurie Gaylor, thinks it’s merely an example of “political grandstanding” and unfortunately that’s all NBC includes in regards their side of the debate about the statue’s future. Instead, the article provides the link to Rehberg’s site where the PDF version of the draft proposal can be found (www.veteransjesus.com) and gives out the contact information for the Forestry Service should the public want to weigh in on this idea. Comments will be accepted until December 8th.
It’s a make-nice solution and I expect both parties will wind up going through with it just so this crazy statue debacle will cease to be an issue for all of them.
I can’t read the comments at veteransjesus unless I sign up for the man’s newsletter but he does include a twitter hashtag (#wwiijesus) and recent tweets as of this writing provided a link to another article comparing this shrine with others around the world that also commemorate soldiers and their sacrifices. It’s by Matthew Clark and found on the The American Center for Law and Justice website.
The statue of Jesus that sits atop Big Mountain – a war memorial placed by World War II veterans upon their return – is more than just a memorial; it has actual historical significance.
These heroes saw similar shrines across Europe as they fought for our liberty. As you can see from the picture above, the war memorial is similar to statues placed throughout Europe that these war heroes would have seen as they served their country.
Okay, but if you actually look at the pictures, you see that Poland and Switzerland chose tasteful Jesus monuments whereas the Americans hired a tacky ass designer for theirs. But that’s not even the point. The point the FFRF have been trying to make is that war memorials shouldn’t promote a religion when they’re on public land — especially in a country like the States that doesn’t have a state-sponsored religion. Using Jesus promotes Christianity over every other kind of faith (and the lack thereof) and winds up creating a memorial that only speaks to the Christians rather than the community at large.
Does the FFRF consider themselves anti-Christian or is that just the way people like Chief Counsel of ACLJ, Jay Sekulow want to paint them? According to the FFRF:
The Foundation recognizes that the United States was first among nations to adopt a secular Constitution. The founders who wrote the U.S. Constitution wanted citizens to be free to support the church of their choice, or no religion at all. Our Constitution was very purposefully written as a godless document, whose only references to religion are exclusionary.
It is vital to buttress the Jeffersonian “wall of separation between church and state” which has served our nation so well.
That’s their ambition. They’re not anti-Christian. Be Christian if you want to be Christian; they won’t care. They’re simply asking that religion and politics remain separate entities. Sekulow and others who equate “religious freedom” with the “God-given” right to shove their religion down everyone’s throats regardless of want or need take issue with that, obviously. Which is why the FFRF has their work cut out for them on a daily basis.
If you want to help the FFRF with this particular problem, they have a petition you can sign. I’m sure they’d appreciate the support.