Press Release

Federal Court Asked to Dismiss Lawsuit Against Montana Jesus Statue Freedom From Religion Foundation fails, in their complaint, to name a plaintiff actually offended by war memorial

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

Washington, DC – Today Becket Law asked the Missoula federal district court to dismiss a case filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), who claimed a war memorial statue of Jesus, in Whitefish Montana, violated the United States Constitution.  Freedom From Religion Foundation claimed that some of its members had seen and taken personal offense at the privately-owned and maintained memorial. However, Freedom from Religion Foundation has failed to allege in its federal complaint who was actually offended by the statue, which has stood in the forest for 65 years without incident.

“The Establishment Clause is not a license to sue anybody, anytime, anywhere,”  said Eric Rassbach, Deputy General Counsel at Becket. “Federal court is not a place for idle ideological debates, but instead a place for real disputes involving real people. Freedom Religion Foundation does not get to drag the government or others into court every time it decides it is ideologically offended.”

Two months ago, Becket Law intervened in federal district court case on behalf of several individual Montanans and the Knights of Columbus to defend a monument to fallen soldiers that includes a statute of Jesus and stands on a public land in a ski resort near Whitefish, Montana. The case was filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, who claimed the monument violated the United States Constitution. Becket asked the U.S. District Court in Montana to vindicate the constitutional rights of Knights to honor soldiers who have given their lives for our country.


Becket Law is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. Becket has a 17-year history of defending religious liberty for people of all faiths. Its attorneys are recognized as experts in the field of church-state law, and they recently won a 9-0 victory against the federal government at the U.S. Supreme Court in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.


For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Melinda Skea at or call 202.349.7224.