An 80-year-old memorial to some of the fallen during World War I will be torn down because it is in the shape of a cross.
The memorial, honoring the 49 residents of Bladensburg, Maryland, who were killed in the First World War, is 40 feet tall and is commonly known as the “Peace Cross.”
But in 2014, the American Humanist Association (their motto is: “being good without a god”) – filed a lawsuit, saying that the memorial is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion and demanded it be demolished, altered or removed. They said that the cross carries “an inherently religious message and creates the unmistakable appearance of honoring only Christian servicemen.”
Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ruled the historic monument will be torn down – because it’s shaped like a cross. Fox News reports:
The Fourth Circuit said the memorial excessively entangles the government in religion because the cross is the “core symbol of Christianity” and “breaches” the wall separating church and state.
Writing separately, Chief Judge Gregory wrote, “This Memorial stands in witness to the VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE, and DEVOTION of the forty-nine residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland ‘who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.’ I cannot agree that a monument so conceived and dedicated and that bears such witness violates the letter or spirit of the very Constitution these heroes died to defend.”
The memorial’s only chance is a direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court – which the American Legion could still do.
“Today’s decision sets dangerous precedent by completely ignoring history, and it threatens removal and destruction of veterans memorials across America,” First Liberty Institute attorney Hiram Sasser said.
First Liberty Institute and the Jones Day law firm are representing the American Legion in their fight.
“This memorial has stood in honor of local veterans for almost 100 years and is lawful under the First Amendment,” Jones Day attorney Michael Carvin said. “To remove it would be a tremendous dishonor to the local men who gave their lives during The Great War.”
The American Humanist Association couldn’t be happier with the decision.
“Government war memorials should respect all veterans, not just those from one religious group,” Roy Speckhardt, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
The decision was a setback for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which owns the site and has spent $117,000 to maintain and repair it, and the American Legion. The commission, which serves Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 1927.
Supporters of the memorial have raised the impact an adverse decision could have on other sites — notably, Arlington National Cemetery. Crosses are common on headstones and elsewhere at the cemetery. A 24-foot granite cross, the Canadian Cross of Sacrifice, is positioned near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The court dismissed the notion that the two sites are related.
“The crosses there are much smaller than the 40-foot tall monolith at issue here,” the court wrote. “And, significantly, Arlington National Cemetery displays diverse religious symbols, both as monuments and on individual headstones.”
When will this end? They’ve been trying to take “God” off of our currency for decades. How much more nonsense is there?