U.S. Forest Service is Evicting Jesus
I already knew this country was lost spiritually but it is one thing to be anti religion it is another to directly attack it. The government had decided to pull the statue after a group from Wisconsin complained it violated the First Amendment’s guarantee of separation of church and state. I say F- the Wisconsin group; you have no right to tell anyone in Montana what to put in their forest. The forest service has never had the mission of attacking any religion and ordering a historical memorial removed is not just a simple policy change, this is an in your face attack on Christians.
Until I see Christians attacking forest service vehicles, burning trees or trashing the graves of forest service workers, I will have to say the forest service and the anti Christians in Wisconsin are the clear aggressors in this situation.
Usually I condemn all politicians and to be honest Congressman Rehberg’s letter is very weak but I will give him cudos for attempting to do the right thing even if his attempt was weak, ineffective and probably without a hint of heartfelt outrage.
Show the forest service some love, the American Family Association (AFA) has a website where you can write Mr. Tidwell and Ms. Weldon, the ever watchful, Christian rights bashing Forest Service representatives and let them know what you think of their attempts to decide what you can see on Public land. Just do not burn any trees, I ‘m sure the forest service has a few sane people left.
Paste the link, make some phone calls and show your love, you should also help the AFA spread the word of this outrage, I did.
Tom Tidwell, Chief
USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20250
Phone: (202) 205-8439
BILLINGS, MT – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today urged the United States Forest Service to reconsider its denial of a permit extension for an historically significant World War II Memorial statue of Jesus that has been located in the Flathead National Forest near Kalispell, MT since 1953. The statue, maintained by the Knights of Columbus Council No. 1328 and celebrated by the local community, sits on a 25’ by 25’ parcel of land leased from the Forest Service.
-I hope you caught that, the site is maintained at zero cost to the public but that is not good enough for the Forest Service.
“When I visited it earlier this year, I saw first-hand that this memorial is an irreplaceable part of our state’s history and a unique and colorful part of the local culture,” said Rehberg. “The Forest Service’s denial of the lease defies common sense. Using a tiny section of public land for a war memorial with religious themes is not the same as establishing a state religion. That’s true whether it’s a cross or a Star of David on a headstone in the Arlington National Cemetery, an angel on the Montana Vietnam Memorial in Missoula or a statue of Jesus on Big Mountain. The Forest Service is just flat wrong to deny this lease on those grounds, and I’m working hard to get them to do the right thing.”
-And so you should.
Rehberg sent a letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell and Northern Region Director Leslie Weldon asking them to reconsider the recent denial of a lease renewal and requirement that the monument itself be moved by the Knights of Columbus.
In their appeal of the decision, the Knights of Columbus noted that, in its current state, moving the statue was likely to seriously damage or even destroy it. The appeal also noted the irony of attempting to remove religious references in a memorial to a war in which millions of people were murdered because of their faith.
“That memorial is to the people who built that mountain and those who served in the war effort,” said Michael Shepard, Commander of the Teddy Roosevelt American Legion Post 108 in Whitefish. “It’s not in an arbitrary location, it’s specifically tied to this community and that mountain. This Forest Service decision is a slap in the face of the men and women who served their country and built this community. When you let folks know what’s going on, they’re going to have a fit. We are tired of out-of-state interests coming into our state and imposing their believes on us when we don’t do that to them. As usual, Denny is on our side, the right side, standing with regular people in Montana. We appreciate his efforts.”
“This statue represents all the World War II vets that came home to Montana, and we erected it with the support of the Mountain division of the military.” Bill Glidden, Grand Knight of the Kalispell Council. “It’s been up there for 60 years and I’ve never heard someone in this area complain about it. It’s part of our community, not just for religious reasons, but there are also weddings and community gatherings up there. I don’t think people know that this statue is in jeopardy, and I think they’ll be upset when they find out. I’m glad Denny is helping us out.”
Rehberg’s Letter is below:
Dear Mr. Tidwell and Ms. Weldon:
I am writing in regards to the Forest Service’s recent decision to deny a continuing land use permit for the WWII Memorial statue in the Flathead National Forest near Kalispell, MT.
In 1953, WWII veterans in a partnership with the local Knights of Columbus, were granted a permanent special use permit for placement of a statue on Big Mountain, where it remains today. However, I recently became aware that not only has your agency denied renewal of the memorial, it is forcing the Knights of Columbus to remove it.
The history of this statue is just as inspiring as the statue itself. During WWII, many American soldiers found inspiration from religions icons, including similar statues of Jesus Christ, in the war ravaged towns and villages across Europe. When these brave young men returned home they wanted something to remind themselves and all Americans what kept them fighting during a time of terrible human loss and suffering.
This statue has been a long-standing piece of history in this area for almost 60 years. Removal of this symbol of hope and faith is an insult to the sacrifices they so willingly gave our great country. I urge you to approve a continuing land use permit as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your consideration of this request, and please don’t hesitate to contact my office if I can be of further assistance.