The 40-foot tall memorial, which was erected to remember the 49 men of Bladensburg, MD who lost their lives during the World War I, has been ordered to come down after a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association.
According to the Court, the cross represents a dangerous entanglement of church and state, because the cross is a “core symbol of Christianity,” and as such should not be represented on public ground. They alleged the cross carries “an inherently religious message and creates the unmistakable appearance of honoring only Christian servicemen.” A three-judge court panel ruled Wednesday that a World War I memorial in the shape of a cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, is unconstitutional, a decision that a legal scholar says could imperil other similar memorials.In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the 40-foot cross erected 92 years ago violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
“Today’s decision sets dangerous precedent by completely ignoring history, and it threatens removal and destruction of veterans memorials across America.”
On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ruled the historic memorial must be torn down — all because the Bladensburg Memorial is in the shape of a cross. The 40-foot tall cross, known as the Peace Cross, was erected in 1925 by the American Legion. It stood, unoffensive, until 2014 when the American Humanist Association decided to press their suit. The following year, the local U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland ruled to allow the cross to stay where it was. The Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial is dedicated to 49 servicemen who perished in WWI. The cross is owned and maintained by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which acquired it from the American Legion in 1961 due to development around the cross.
The American Legion could appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
“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.”
I warned Americans in my new book, “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again,” that the war against religious liberty and traditional American values is far from over.
A militant group of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers want to eradicate Christianity in the public marketplace. The only way to stop this evil scourge is for people of faith to stand together and fight back in the courts. Once again, a federal judge has ruled in favor of the American Legion, defending the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens to commemorate veterans who have sacrificed everything for our freedom.