A historic statue of Jesus Christ at Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana was painted brown by a vandal last weekend.
The act of vandalism is one of many cases of fire and vandalism at churches across the country over the last month, but it was only covered by two local news outlets — completely ignored by the national media.
“The statue was found Monday morning with brown painted skin tones and holding flags that read ‘Rise Up’ and ‘#BLM,’ according to a photo posted to Facebook, seemingly making reference to the Black Lives Matter movement,” the Whitefish Pilot reports. “By Monday afternoon the flags were gone, but the paint remained.”
The Whitefish Pilot report added that “Flathead National Forest Public Information Officer Lauren Alley confirmed the forest service learned of the vandalism on Monday, but did not yet have information on whether the incident is being investigated.”
The six foot tall statue is maintained by the Knights of Columbus organization and was placed on the mountain in 1954 to honor World War II veterans and members of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
“In my perspective, this makes me roll my eyes because we all know (Jesus) wasn’t a Caucasian European, we get that, point made, in my mind anyway,” Knights of Columbus council member and chaplain Charlie Harball told the Flathead Beacon. “I don’t think we’re terribly offended. There are people who will get offended by it; it gets divisive. We’re trying to downplay it as much as possible.”
The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued to have the statue removed in 2012, arguing that a statue of Jesus on public land violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. They lost.
The statue will now have to be repainted.
The resort released a statement on Monday that confirmed the statue was desecrated and said that they “strongly disapprove of vandalism,” according to a report from the Nationalist Review.
The statue of Jesus Christ at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Southwest Miami-Dade was found beheaded on July 15. Multiple statues of the Virgin Mary have also been vandalized across the nation.