Monday, October 24, 2011

One and an Out of State Bunch against the Majority

Clear back in 1953 the Whitefish chapter of the Knights of Columbus leased a patch of Forest Service ground measuring 25 feet by 25 feet for the purpose of erecting a statue of Jesus as a memorial to World War II veterans. According to the Missoulian one lone person started complaining about the statue being offensive to Atheists and others with no religious beliefs. A Wisconsin based group called Freedom from Religion got involved in the fray and has succeeded in getting the Forest Service to cancel the permit that has allowed this display for over 5 decades.

Without even considering the merits of the historical value of this statue to local residents what I find offensive is that one bellyaching person and a non-local out of state organization can dictate what we can and can’t do here in Montana. No matter what your religious beliefs or lack thereof just what does this historical landmark hurt?

It would seem that with the state of our nation today we would have more important things to worry about. Read the article over in the Missoulian and give us your opinion.


  1. Honestly, as a veteran and a life-long Montanan, I had never heard of this statue until this issue came up. The first thing I thought of, as a comparison, was Our Lady of the Rockies. The 90-foot tall likeness of the Virgin Mary is dedicated to all women and sits on National Forest land overlooking Butte. I don't know if it was inspired by the Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janerio (Christ the Redeemer) but it sure reminds me of that iconic statue, especially the way she is posed with her palms held out.
    The core issue, however, is that the Constitution has no specific language separating church and state in the sense that it is used today for issues such as this. It does say that: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" How is that interpreted as removing a statue of Christ from a mountainside? I think by having the statue removed on grounds that it violates "church and state" it actually violates the "free exercise thereof" placing the statue on the mountain.
    Every U.S. military base in the world has a chapel. Every National Cemetery in the U.S. has tombstones with Christian Crosses, Jewish Stars of Davids and Islamic Crescents. So, the question for this Gaylor character should not be; why does it offend you? It should be; why can't you respect the reason for these symbols?

  2. This is insane.
    Starving and abused people all over the world yet people are wasting time and resources to stage righteous anger at something that has been in existence for 59 years. Not to mention the fact that the veterans that placed this statue also were responsible for clearing the mountain to be used as a ski slope in the first place. The solitary person that filed the complaint did none of the work on the hill and never contributed one single thing to the betterment of the mountain other than to enjoy the labors of what others previously contributed.

  3. I do wonder what the comments would be like if the statue was honoring Islam or 'veterans' in Islamic fatwa.

    The post 9-11 world should question all religion in society, as science flies man to the moon and religion flies people into buildings.

    There are many of us that are offended by governments (particularly when it is forced and coerced) use of religion. As Bill Mahar famously stated "Prayer is telepathy to ones imaginary friend"

    Society does accept prayer, and considers it speaking to god. However, when god speaks to a person it is generally refered to as schizophrenia and medication is prescribed.

    Religion and prayer belongs in church not in the public political arena.

  4. Some of us are not as narrow minded as you like to think DeConstructor. If the Muslims had fought and died in WW2 and came back to complete a huge volunteer project such as these vets in whitefish did I would consider their statue to Mohammad a part of history that occurred over a half a century ago and would be thankful for their contribution to our country and local community. Are there any such statues in Montana commemorating any great works on their part?

    This is part of our past history and is a far cry from bringing religion into the public political arena. Everyone demands tolerance for their views no matter how offensive we find those views yet in turn offer no tolerance for even simple things such as this statue.

    I don't believe in Santa Claus so should I assert my right to object to the local merchants exploiting this fictitious character which I view as pure nonsense?

  5. @freddy

    If the muslims that died in WWII came back to do a huge volunteer project I would join your opinion.

    I do not see that happening.

  6. Three points:

    1. A statue of Jesus of Nazareth as a so-called memorial to WWII veterans is offensive to me as a Jewish veteran.

    2. Many people, including many Jews, think the Star of David is the symbol of the Jewish religion. It is not.

    The 7-branch Temple Menorah (not to be confused with the 8-branch Chanukah Menorah) is the religious symbol of the Jewish faith, but Jewish law prevents its public display in the same manner as Christians display the Cross, the religious symbol of the Christian faith.

    It is at times of public display that the 6-pointed Magen Duveed (Star of David), the ensign of the House of David and the secular symbol of the Jewish people, is substituted for the 7-Branch Temple Menorah. This is confusing, and even many Jews think that the Star of David is a religious symbol, which it is not.

    3. Most Jewish vets are buried in private, Jewish cemeteries. During WWII, the military offered families the option of returning the bodies of fallen servicemen to the States for burial in a cemetery of their choice. Most Jewish families elected to do so and that's why there are fewer Star of Davids in the military cemeteries in Europe than the actual number of Jewish soldiers who died there during WWII.

  7. Thanks for the info Walter.

    I think much of the misunderstanding regarding Jewish symbols is due to the fact that many of us associate the Star of David with the Jewish faith as it is on the Israeli flag.

    Additionally differect sects or factions of major faiths hold very different views, such as the LDS religion claiming to be Christian yet are offended by the symbol of a cross.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. DeConstructor, you're welcome.

    Additionally, you may find it interesting to know that it's a great surprise to many that G. Washington and the other founding fathers (mostly Free Masons, I've been told) included the Magen Duveed (Star of David), the secular symbol of the Jewish people, on the Great Seal of the United States. You can readily see it by looking directly above the Eagle on the reverse of the one-dollar bill (it's in the stars).

  10. Wasn't Jesus a jew? Why would you be offended Walter?

  11. Redneck Joe, the worship of Jesus of Nazareth, as well as a 3-dimensional representation, are each violations of the 2nd Mitvot (Commandments), prohibiting the worship of other than the one, true G-d.

  12. Small correction to my immediately preceding comment:

    I typed the plural (Mitzvot, Commandments), when I should've used the singular (Mitzvah, Commandment).

  13. Who cares?

    Why is there always someone that has to be offended about something as dumb as this?

  14. I agree with superman. Its this taking offence to what others do and belive in that starts wars and inflames radicals. How hard would it be Walter, to just look the other way when you see a symbol that dosent happen to be YOUR symbol. Maybe the people that put that up dont subscribe to your Mitvot thing.

    Just curious, would your end goal be to put one of those stars on every street corner and outlaw any other religous icon or symbol.. would that please you?

    This is why i choose to not be religious, they cant all be right.

  15. You say the group suing is from Wisconsin.

    Isn’t that the state where only 30% of the school kids are literate and the state is bankrupt? Seems to me maybe they should stay home and tend to their own problems

  16. Superman and axslinger, the statue is offensive because, as previously stated, it violates the Second Mitzvah (= Second Commandment, as in what Gentiles refer to as the Ten Commandments or Jews refer to as the Ten Utterances or Ten Statements) prohibition against idolatry.

    Now, if this statue was on private property, it would still be offensive, but not objectionable; and, as an American, I would defend the right of private property owners to display what to me is offensive.

    And, axslinger, as previously stated, those stars, normally referred to as the Magen Duveed (Star of David), as in Melach Duveed (King David), the father of Shlomo (Solomon), are secular, not religious; and, no it would not please me to put this secular symbol on every street corner.