Mountain Jesus Statue Could Lose It Lease

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- A statue of Jesus on U.S. Forest Service land in the mountains over a Montana ski resort could be evicted amid an argument over separation of church and state.

The Forest Service gave supporters a small victory by withdrawing its initial decision to boot the Jesus statue from its perch above Whitefish. But the agency warns that court decisions are stacked against allowing a religious icon on federal land as it reconsiders the matter.

The statue has long been a curiosity to skiers, and supporters tout its significance to the area since its placement in the 1950s.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation argues the icon cannot be on public land and is pushing the Forest Service to stand by its decision to remove it by next year.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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