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Atheist group appeals decision on Jesus statue

By Associated Press
Published On: Aug 23 2013 10:15:00 AM MDT

KALISPELL, Mont. -

A Wisconsin-based atheist and agnostic organization is appealing a federal judge's ruling that a 6-foot-tall statue of Jesus can remain on Forest Service land on a northwestern Montana ski hill.
    
The Freedom From Religion Foundation appealed U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen's decision that allowed the Flathead National Forest to re-issue a 10-year permit for the statue the Knights of Columbus placed on Big Mountain as World War II memorial.
    
The FFRF filed a lawsuit in February 2012, arguing the statue violates the Constitutional separation of church and state.
    
Christensen ruled in June that the statue is more often used as a meeting point for skiers than as a solemn place for religious reflection.
    
The FFRF filed its appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Aug. 22.