HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- 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's 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.
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.
That was good enough for federal Judge Dana Christensen to deny the Knights of Columbus' request and let the lawsuit proceed.
Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, responded, "I could just say, `Hallelujah."'
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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