Constitutionality Of Memorial Cross For WWI Military Fallen In Maryland Debated

Source: Chip Somodevilla / Getty

The Supreme Court says a World War I memorial in the shape of a 40-foot-tall cross can continue to stand on public land in Maryland.

The court has rejected a challenge to the nearly 100-year-old memorial.

The justices have ruled that its presence on public land doesn’t violate the First Amendment’s establishment clause.

That clause prohibits the government from favoring one religion over others.

The Bladensburg Peace Cross, made of granite and cement, was built in 1925 and paid for by local families, businesses and the American Legion to honor 49 World War I veterans from Prince George’s County. But the 40-foot cross sits on a now-busy highway median in Bladensburg, Maryland owned since 1961 by a state commission that pays for its maintenance and upkeep.

The legal challenge began with the American Humanist Association, a nonprofit atheist organization that has filed similar lawsuits throughout the country.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan called this ruling a “great victory,” in a statement Thursday morning:

“This is a great victory after we fought tirelessly to keep the Peace Cross standing in recognition of the valor, endurance, courage, and devotion of our World War I veterans. Today’s ruling ensures that this memorial—a dignified tribute to those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice—will stand tall and proud for the ages.

“I was honored to help lead this fight on behalf of our veterans, and I am proud that Marylanders and Americans will be able to visit the Peace Cross in Bladensburg for years to come.”

Source: Washington Post


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