HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service says it will re-authorize a permit for a 57-year-old statue of Jesus that had been facing eviction from a northwestern Montana ski resort.
The agency faced a firestorm of criticism from religious groups, the state's congressman and residents after it decided last fall to boot the Jesus statue from its hillside perch in the trees.
The Forest Service said Tuesday will renew a 10-year special-use permit for the Knights of Columbus Council statue. Service supervisor Chip Weber says the decision took into account that the statue "is important to the community for its historical heritage."
The agency received more than 90,000 comments on the issue.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation argues the religious statue does not belong on public land.