New York Times
November 25, 2011
They call him Big Mountain Jesus: a six-foot statue of Christ, draped in a baby blue robe and gazing out over the majestic Flathead Valley from his perch along a ski run at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana.
He has been there for more than 50 years, erected by the local Knights of Columbus chapter in honor of the soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division who told of seeing similar shrines in the mountains of Italy during World War II.
These days, though, Whitefish’s Jesus statue is at the center of an increasingly bitter battle over the legality of such symbols on federal land.
An atheist group says that because Big Mountain Jesus stands on United States Forest Service property, it is in violation of the constitutional principle separating church and state.