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Montana Jesus statue case won’t be appealed by anti-religion group

In this Feb. 20, 2011, file photo, University of Montana students visit a statue of Jesus Christ in Whitefish, Mont. (Linda Thompson / Associated Press)
In this Feb. 20, 2011, file photo, University of Montana students visit a statue of Jesus Christ in Whitefish, Mont. (Linda Thompson / Associated Press)
Associated Press

KALISPELL – A statue of Jesus that has spent more than 60 years overlooking a northwestern Montana ski hill is there to stay as an anti-religion group said it will not appeal its case for the statue’s removal.

In August, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected arguments from a group of atheists and agnostics that placing the statue on U.S. Forest Service land violates the separation of church and state.

The Daily Inter Lake reported that the Freedom From Religion Foundation had until this week to appeal after the Court of Appeals denied a request to rehear the case in November. Officials say they will not. The Knights of Columbus placed the statue on Big Mountain in 1955 as a memorial to World War II soldiers.

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