‘Son of God’ as Savvy Land Baron

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So far, the folks at the Flathead National Forest have received over 90,000 comments from citizens weighing in on the issue of whether to renew the 25-square foot piece of land that has been home to the Son of God since 1955, according to an Associated Press report.

Remember, the renewal of the land lease came into question earlier this fall when an out-of-state Wisconsin-based atheist group called The Freedom From Religion Foundation, called for its removal as part of a claim that it was a breach of the separation of church and state.

That organization lists 17,000 members on its roster, with 100 of those living in Montana, the group says the statue’s presence has been a misappropriation of federal lands.

The Forest Service first agreed to the group’s demands before later rescinding its original order on Oct. 21, and extended the public comment period on the new lease to Dec. 8.

Should the statue remain? We’re not sure this is as much a show of support or stance for Christianity as it is affection for a beloved cultural icon. For 50 years this badly-painted ‘Son of God’ has kept a watchful – albeit stoic – eye on skiers and snowboarders, but more as a novelty than anything else.

After all, this gaudily-painted deity has been littered with Mardi Gras beads, underwear, and various and sundry other artifacts over the years. It’s been treated more as a mountain mascot than as a beacon of religious idolatry.

Indeed, locals and visitors see “Big Mountain Jesus” more as a cultural icon, and a local treasure, an apt ambassador revered for its conversational appeal and uniqueness, than its actual spiritual appeal.

In a word, many locals consider “Christ” as much a part of their winter skiing and snowboarding experience for the last 50 years as the resort’s lunchtime chili and après-ski grog.

And after all, isn’t this less a ‘Son of God’ thing, and more just one more “panty-bunching” time-waster in the name of political correctness and 25 square feet?

Just imagine: Had it been an issue over a nine-candled Jewish menorah or a seven-candled Kwanzaan Mishumaa Saba, this might have become a commentary on impaling, and personal injury lawyers.