National Day of Prayer: infringement of church and state?

Fellowship of Christian Athletes State Director Bob Veroulis reacts to a prayer at a National Day of Prayer event at the state capitol Thursday.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes State Director Bob Veroulis reacts to a prayer at a National Day of Prayer event at the state capitol Thursday.

Montana’s faithful recognized the national Day of Prayer this week.

Dozens gathered at the state capitol building Thursday where some of the state’s top leaders gave their own prayers.

Supporters call it a celebration of religious freedom.

But Capitol Reporter Dan Boyce says one national organization is fighting the day as a violation of church and state.

 

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Legal saga continues over Whitefish Mountain Jesus Statue

Knights of Columbus Jesus Statue sits near the top of Chair Two at the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort on Big Mountain.

Knights of Columbus Jesus Statue sits near the top of Chair Two at the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort on Big Mountain.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation recently filed a brief supporting it’s case against the Jesus statue at the top of Chair Two at the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort on Big Mountain.

The group takes issue with the statue sitting on federal land in what it calls a violation of the Establishment Clause. This part of the First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits government endorsement of religion.

The FFRF issued a press release February 18, 2013:

FFRF

The statue was erected by the local chapter of the Knights of Columbus, a Fraternal Catholic Organization. In the fall of 2011 the U-S Forest Service denied a re-authorization permit for a statue that’s been regularly reauthorized since it went up in 1954. Public outcry greeted the decision to not reauthorize the Knights permit, and the Forest Service put the question out for review. The Forest Service reversed its decision at the beginning of 2012. The Knights of Columbus say the statue is a war memorial put up by members of the 10th Mountain Division returning from World War II who were also members of the Knights, and had seen similar statues in Europe.

Former Representative Denny Rehberg got involved with the effort to keep the statue and the issue has gained national attention. Rehberg spoke to Fox News in 2011:

The issue is scheduled to go before the judge in federal court in Missoula in March.