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Montana CEO issues brave rejoinder to those who defaced Jesus statue



At a time when we have seen corporations bow in terror to the threats of the “woke” mob, it was pleasantly surprising to wake up today and read an op-ed by the CEO of Winter Sports Inc. that condemned the recent vandalism of the Jesus statue atop the Big Mountain ski resort in Whitefish, Montana.

Sometime earlier this month, the statue was defaced by having its face and hands crudely painted brown. Messages left on the statue supported the Black Lives Matter movement, so it is safe to assume the vandalism was done by someone who thinks vandalism advances the cause of black people in America.

Leaving aside the irony that the “woke” vandals were essentially applying blackface to the statue and thus violating one of their own anti-racist edicts, one can’t help but be astounded by the target of the vandalism. Jesus — the pure sinless son of God — who preached tolerance and forgiveness and taught that we should all be good neighbors to each other — how does he rate being treated with disdain and disrespect?

The statue has stood atop the popular ski resort since 1954, a gift by the Knights of Columbus to honor the memory of the soldiers who fought and died in World War II to free Europe of the racist totalitarian Nazi regime. Again, you have to wonder whether the vandals have any idea what they are doing?

CEO Dan Graves could have remained silent and not risked angering the Twitter mob that has targeted so many others who have spoken up for law and order. Indeed, it should be noted that Graves wrote his letter only on his own behalf, not as a representative of Winter Sports, which owns the ski resort. But I want to laud his example. Unless more people speak up for decency and civility, our country is in dread peril.

Graves bravely spoke out and said what needed to be said:


“My first reaction when I saw the face and hands painted brown was how deeply our society has descended into incivility. I can only assume based on the messaging left behind that the painting of the skin of Jesus is a response from those supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. As a concept itself, the importance of respecting black lives is practical and noble, just as it is practical and noble to recognize that every life matters. Yes, every life. It is ironic that the vandalized statue is of Jesus, who died for forgiveness of our transgressions and teaching humanity the importance of all people’s lives. Whether you are a believer or not, that is the ultimate self-giving sacrifice that anyone has ever performed.

“What happened to civil discourse when one could disagree with another without shouting at each other, physically harming one another, or destroying their property? What happened to walking away respecting the freedom of another to have a different opinion?

“Calm debate is no longer practiced or taught. It seems that it is far easier to demonize the person that disagrees with you and label them with some name that instills fear or loathing than it is to put forth values, principles, and results that justify your opinion.”

I certainly hope that Graves will not suffer personally for his opinion, but experience has taught me that we have reached a point in society where we no longer have truly free speech. Even in Montana, the “woke” mob can do great damage to people.

Graves’ brief essay is a cri de coeur that encapsulates the appropriate response of responsible citizens whenever we are confronted by vandalism, bullying or oppression. As his headline states, “Destruction of private property [is] no way to improve society.”

“Do we want a society where the mob rules with violence, fear and destruction of property? There are many examples of that around the world and in all of those places poverty and great need is widespread, and freedom, if any, is limited to what the current government dictates. Generally, those regime changes start with violence, private property destruction, elimination of private gun ownership, and the elimination of history. These are facts. That is what happened in Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba, China, Lebanon, the former USSR, Nigeria, and many other countries.”

It is rare to see such clear thinking in the public media by a business leader such as Mr. Graves. He has to be given the greatest respect. I will give him the last word:

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“I hope this is a general “wake-up call” across our communities that it was an attack on private property. When will it be a storefront in the Flathead? When will it be a church, synagogue, or temple in the Flathead? It is already happening across the nation. The very fibers of our country are being pulled apart by those that want to dismantle the values and laws that this country was founded on and why it has flourished more than any country on the planet. 

“I pray for those individuals who think that violence and destruction is the proper way for improving society. That only starts within, by giving back to society rather than just taking, by helping others when they cannot help themselves, by forgiving others of a wrongdoing, by listening to someone that has no one to talk to …”

That is the America I know and love.


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Heartland Diary is solely operated by Frank Miele, the retired editor of the Daily Inter Lake in Kalispell, Montana. If you enjoy reading these daily essays, I hope you will consider purchasing one of my books. They are available through the following Amazon links. My new book is “How We Got Here: The Left’s Assault on the Constitution” and is now available in paperback and as an eBook. It’s 536 pages and chock full of research on the progressive movement and the patriotic heroes who have fought against it. My earlier books include “The Media Matrix: What if everything you know is fake?” and the “Why We Needed Trump” trilogy. Part 1 is subtitled “Bush’s Global Failure: Half Right.” Part 2 is “Obama’s Fundamental Transformation: Far Left.” Part 3 is “Trump’s American Vision: Just Right.” As an Amazon Associate, I may earn referral fees for qualifying purchases through links on my website. Also consider subscribing to Heartland Diary on YouTube by clicking here for News Every Conservative Can Use. My goal is to reach 1,000 subscribers.


3 thoughts on “Montana CEO issues brave rejoinder to those who defaced Jesus statue”

  1. Jan says:

    I felt the same way, Frank. Excellent article.

  2. Nancy (and Bill) McGunagle says:

    Great rollout for your book as well as another top drawer article for RealClearPolitics.com. Bill and I started “How We Got Here” this week & will read and discuss a chapter or two each day. Hope to get a review off to Amazon ASAP. Thanks again for all you do.

    1. Frank Miele says:

      Thanks Nancy. Always appreciate your support!

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