Peace Cross Case Heads to US Supreme Court – Why Much More Than One Cross Is on the Line

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case about whether a the nearly 100-year-old, cross-shaped war memorial in Maryland known as Peace Cross violates the Constitution because is on government property. The case of the monument, located in the Bladensburg community of Prince George’s County, could impact hundreds of similar monuments nationwide.

First Liberty Institute is defending the cross. One of its lawyers, Jeremy Dys, told CBN News, “This case is very important for a variety of reasons. Because this area of the law is right now – as Justice (Clarence) Thomas has said – in hopeless disarray. And so there’s really needing some clarity for this.”

The legal team  believes this could be the most crucial religious liberty case the Supreme Court handles this term. That’s because if the high court eventually decides this cross has to go, it could affect thousands of other crosses, including crosses on all federal cemeteries such as  the national cometary at Arlington.

But if the justices make a broad ruling favoring the cross and other objects like it, it could put an end to judges and bureaucrats deciding – somewhat haphazardly – if a religious symbol or display is too religious or secular enough to be left alone by secular authorities.

That possibility has opponents of the cross worried about the court setting a precedent that could counter future efforts to eradicate religious symbols–especially Christian symbols– from public display.

The District of Columbia-based American Humanist Association has led the challenge against the monument. The organization and three area residents sued Maryland officials in 2014 in an attempt to have the monument torn down. They say that the cross “discriminates against patriotic soldiers who are not Christian, sending a callous message to non-Christians that Christians are worthy of veneration while they may as well be forgotten.” And they point out that other nearby memorials are smaller and across the street from the cross.

One of the people who brought the original case against the cross – Steven Lowe of the American Humanist Association – told CBN News, “The government on this piece of property is favoring a religion with this huge symbol. When you come across the bridge or approach it from any of the highways, you see nothing but this huge Christian cross.”

Journalist Renee Green spoke with Lowe and other cross opponents for her documentary “Save the Peace Cross.” In it, United Coalition of Reason officer Fred Edwords stated, “It gives the impression of Christianity and nothing else. And it gives the impression of government endorsement of Christianity.”

And Lowe told Green, “The existence of a memorial on public land is not a problem. It is just the use of the Christian cross as part of that memorial that we find contrary to the First Amendment and separation of church and state.”

Edwords added, “It looks for all the world like, ‘Okay, this is either the state of Maryland or the city of Bladensburg endorsing one religion.'”

In the suit against the cross, one atheist said he was traumatized driving by it. Green appears on camera in her documentary to point out that many telephone poles are in the shape of a cross.

“If the plaintiffs win this lawsuit, will all the telephone poles need to be modified?” Green asks, tongue-in-cheek. She adds, “I just hope they’re not traumatized by telephone poles while driving.”

The Peace Cross has drawn the support of Maryland’s governor and senators. Over the summer the state of Maryland filed an amicus brief in support of the petition to the Supreme Court, and Gov. Larry Hogan said the state was “determined to fight all the way to the highest court in the land to keep it standing tall and proud.”

The Peace Cross was completed in 1925, and it honors 49 men from the surrounding county who died in World War I. A plaque on the cross’ base lists the names of those soldiers, and both faces of the cross have a circle with the symbol of the American Legion, the veterans organization that helped raise money to build it.

Today, responsibility for the cross falls to a Maryland parks commission that took over ownership and maintenance of it in 1961 because of traffic safety concerns.

~ Grif

The first amendment/the first enumerated right:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

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KennethHazel HayesLophattKENNETH E MILLARDMist'ears Mom Recent comment authors
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chemtrailssuck
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chemtrailssuck

Seeing as most of the tax payers were Christians back when the Cross memorial was paid for and erected, it should stay.

DCG
Editor

“In the suit against the cross, one atheist said he was traumatized driving by it. Green appears on camera in her documentary to point out that many telephone poles are in the shape of a cross.”

Good grief…if this is all it takes to “traumatize” you, I suggest you seek help. Inanimate objects should not have that much power over your ability to control (or lack thereof) feelings.

Glenn47
Guest
Glenn47

Such BS no one is traumatized, this is about control and wiping out anything Christian. This would never effect non believers because a cross would have no meaning, it is just a shape. These troublemakers are making our points for us by acting so childish and the fabrication of their fears.

Dr. Eowyn
Admin

“In the suit against the cross, one atheist SATANIST said he was traumatized driving by it.”

There, I fixed it for you, journalist Renee Green.

Afterall, demons are repelled by the crucifix. Just sayin!
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Joy Arden
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Joy Arden

Most certainly if Baphomet was there even 1/10 the size of this Christian cross there would be a stink. The cross is kinda big. I am Christian and find it offensive as it feels like someone is forcing the religion on me. If it would be allowed here it could be allowed anywhere. I think the Supreme Court (why is it now SCOTUS) will side with it’s removal. It’s not removing Christianity from the country so when I hear the whines of those people I just press delete. What also needs removal is Christmas. Now there’s a thing I will… Read more »

Mistears Mom
Member
Mistears Mom

What a bunch of horse manure and another waste of our tax payer dollars. The 1st amendment means that the state cannot develop a “statewide” forced religion on the population-like England did & (islam is trying to do). It doesn’t mean crosses and/or other signs of religion cannot be on public land or in public view. pick, pick pick-these Satanists will never stop… I really wish these people would fall into the hole of hell sooner rather than later and/or stfu. Lets sue bc a woman is wearing a headscarf/hijab at the capital-isn’t that a religious symbol on gov prop?… Read more »

William
Member
William

The cross in a public place is symbolic, it reaffirms that our various and sundry governments are, or were, morally grounded in something transcendant, beyond naturalism/ materialism/atheism/nihilism. It doesn’t force anything on anybody. This is America, you’re free to worship the Great Pumpkin if that’s what melts your butter. But yeah, poor little Baphomet, so marginalized and misunderstood. I see your point. And, just so you know, you’re off my Christmas list

KENNETH E MILLARD
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KENNETH E MILLARD

Soo–wearing Habib is ok,but a cross is not?

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

I think this is one of the most tortured amendments to the Constitution. To me it is obvious that all it is is a prohibition against establishment of a “state religion” and a guarantee that everyone’s religious rights to worship will be protected. It sickens me that more and more this is being interpreted as a “prohibition” of religious imagery. You don’t hear this regarding menorahs or crescents. It is obviously aimed at Christianity by atheists, heretics, Jews and others. If imagery has to be removed from federal lands then ALL imagery has to go. I am not in favor… Read more »

Lophatt
Member
Lophatt

I think we’re going to see more of this:

https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/montreal-priest-expected-to-survive-stabbing-at-st-joseph-s-oratory-1.4347482

Gee, no cries to ban knives. Give ’em time. Now its open season on clergy.