Members of the Prayer Caucus Join Brief Defending WWII Memorial Statue of Jesus
Eighteen Members of the House of Representatives signed an amicus curiae brief filed by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) urging a federal court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against a World War II memorial statue of Jesus in Montana’s Flathead National Forest.
The brief explains that in the lawsuit, FFRF failed to identify even one individual who has been offended by the memorial. The brief continues by explaining that, even if such individuals had been identified, FFRF’s “offended observer” claims are insufficient because having hurt feelings is not a cognizable injury under Article III of the Constitution. The Knights of Columbus erected the statue in the early 1950s on the small plot of land and have a special-use permit that must be renewed every ten years.
In 2011, the U.S. Forest Service refused to renew the permit citing concerns about potential litigation; however, officials eventually reversed course after receiving approximately 95,000 comments supporting the cross. FFRF then filed a lawsuit arguing that the statue’s presence on public land is a government endorsement of Christianity and therefore violates the Establishment Clause. The Constitution does not require the removal of symbols that honor the sacrifice of countless Americans. Members of the Prayer Caucus will continue working to ensure that these memorials are preserved for future generations.