The US Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision on Thursday that the Bladensburg Peace Cross can stand on public land. The WWI memorial to 49 soldiers that died from the local community stands in a traffic circle in Prince George’s County. It has been there since 1925.
The Fourth Circuit Court ruled it as unconstitutional, because of its “religious” appearance as a Christian cross, claiming it was an “overlap” between church and state. This time, cooler heads prevailed, and the SCOTUS ruled that it can stay.
“For nearly a century, the Bladensburg Cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought… It has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of ‘a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.” Justice Samuel Alito in the Majority opinion
This issue of the 40 foot Latin Cross could easily have sparked a huge confrontation had the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Hostility toward Christianity has been growing at a rapid pace…but removing a cross put up by the American Legion to honor WWI war dead might have been a catalyst for severe civil disobedience.
Only one judge on the Fourth Circuit Court voted to keep the cross in the original decision. Surprisingly, a Clinton appointee:
“Despite the religious nature of the Latin cross, a reasonable observer must also
adequately consider the Memorial’s physical setting, history, and usage. The Memorial
was created to commemorate the forty-nine soldiers who lost their lives in World War I,
as explicitly stated on the plaque attached to its base. …(“THIS
MEMORIAL CROSS DEDICATED TO THE HEROES OF PRINCE GEORGE’S
COUNTY MARYLAND WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE
LIBERTY OF THE WORLD.”). The plaque also includes a quotation from President
Woodrow Wilson stating, “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the
things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.”
The Memorial has functioned as a war memorial for its entire history, and it sits among other secular monuments in Veterans Memorial Park, though it is separated from the other monuments by intersecting highways…
…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.” Judge Gregory, Fourth Circuit Court
Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion. These are the words inscribed on the plaque at the foot of the Bladensburg Peace cross. The 49 names inscribed there are the men who died defending the very Constitution that the atheist group attempts to twist for their own personal aggrandizement.
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