WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today released the following statement after the Freedom From Religion Foundation sued in U.S. District Court in Montana to force the removal of an historically significant veterans memorial statue of Jesus in northwest Montana. The statue, which has been there for nearly 60 years, has become the subject of some controversy after the Wisconsin based organization objected to a special use permit renewal on the 25’ by 25’ parcel of U.S. Forest Service land. After it was determined it may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, and in response to 95,000 public comments, the Forest Service decided to extend the permit for ten years.
“The Whitefish community and the Forest Service did not ask for this fight, but we’re going to do whatever is necessary to win it. This historic statue honors of the service of the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II – men who fought and died to protect the very freedoms that give groups like the Freedom From Religion Foundation the right to exist. In this case, the Forest Service made the right decision to extend the permit and let the monument stand. They have the overwhelming support of the local community and the American people in their stand against litigious bullies who want to force their narrow beliefs on the rest of us. At the end of the day, the veterans of the Tenth Mountain Division fought for us, and you’d better believe we’re going to fight for them.”