A well-known meme about the Bladensburg Cross claimed that "liberals" were "offended" through the WWI memorial and demanded that removal.

You are watching: Court rules wwi memorial must be torn down

Published9 December 2016Updated19 October 2017

Share on share on facebook on TwitterShare on PinterestShare on RedditShare via Email

*

The post contained no details or citation, did not name the “liberal group” involved, the place of the memorial, the day of the purported controversy, and also the grounds whereby these individuals thought the monument to it is in offensive. (Nevertheless, the item’s re-publishing count reached six number in just two days.)

The picture was easily identifiable as the Bladensburg, Maryland “Peace Cross” (known just as the “Bladensburg Cross”):

Known also as “Peace Cross.” The Snyder-Farmer write-up of the American Legion of Hyattsville set up the fourty foot overcome of cement and also marble come recall the forty-nine guys of Prince George’s ar who died in people War I. The cross was dedicated on July 13, 1925, through the American Legion. A bronze tablet at the basic of the monument includes the unforgettable words the Woodrow Wilson: “The right is an ext precious than the peace; us shall fight for the things we have constantly carried nearest our hearts; to together a task we dedicate ourselves.” at the base of the monument are the words, “Valor, Endurance, Courage, Devotion.” in ~ its heart, the cross bears a good gold star.


A 7 December 2016 Washington Post write-up reported that years-long litigation over the cross was carried by the American Humanist Association because of the religious nature of the general public memorial:

The high court has allowed some monuments with religious content come stand and rejected others on windy sites … The towering, pink-hued overcome honors the 49 Prince George’s County guys who died in world War I. The monument was completed in 1925 v funds raised by the American Legion and also local families.

It sit on land owned by the Maryland-National resources Park and Planning Commission, a state agency that pays for upkeep and repairs, follow to court filings.

The very nice one was lugged by the American Humanist association after a U.S. Ar Court judge  declined to order the the cross be removed, saying that it is a historically significant secular battle memorial.

The initial complaint to be filed in February 2015 versus the Maryland-National capital Park and also Planning Commission. In the suit’s opening lines, the plaintiffs described the action was not due to the fact that they uncovered the symbol itself offensive: 

This action challenges the constitutionality of the Defendant’s ownership, maintenance and prominent screen on public residential property of a huge Christian overcome (the “Bladensburg Cross”) as a violation of the facility Clause the the an initial Amendment that the United says Constitution, as used to Maryland by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Under “Causes that Action,” the team reiterated its motivation in happen the suit:

The Defendant’s ownership, maintenance and also prominent screen on public property of the Bladensburg Cross amounts to the proof and advance of religion (and, specifics an endorsement of and also affiliation v Christianity) in violation the the facility Clause of the first Amendment come the United claims Constitution.

The Defendant’s ownership, maintenance and prominent display screen on public residential property of the Bladensburg cross lacks a secular function in violation the the establishment Clause of the very first Amendment come the United says Constitution.

The Defendant’s ownership, maintenance and also prominent screen on public residential or commercial property of the Bladensburg cross fosters too much governmental entanglement with religious beliefs in violation of the facility Clause the the very first Amendment to the United claims Constitution.

The Defendant acted under color of state law in violating the first Amendment as explained herein in violation that 42 U.S.C. §1983.

The American Humanist Association said repeatedly that the legal action was about what the group argued was a violation of the establishment Clause, not a matter of offense. A 26 February 2014 write-up in The Humanist further defined the suit:

At the main point of the very first Amendment’s establishment Clause is the principle the the government must no favor or like some religions over others, or faith over non-religion. No issue how small the preference may seem come some, specifically to adherents of the favored religion, the framers of the Constitution thought that “The breach that neutrality the is now a trickling stream may all too soon come to be a raging torrent.”

When the federal government erects an exclusively Christian monument on government property, it violates this central command of the establishment Clause by sending out a clear blog post that Christianity is the wanted religion over all others. Once the religious monument is dedicated to fallen soldiers, it sends an even more egregious article that just Christian soldiers room worth memorializing. Non-Christian soldiers such as atheists and humanists are naturally excluded.

Such is the instance with a overcome in Bladensburg, Maryland, frequently known together the “Peace Cross,” which stands forty-feet high ~ above a government-owned median in between roadways. In enhancement to the obvious sectarian nature that the Latin cross, the Bladensburg cross was likewise erected with spiritual motives … In seeking the removed of the Bladensburg cross, the American Humanist association seeks just to remove this stigmatic post to non-adherents that Christianity. It urges the federal government to erect one inclusive monument that will honor all fallen soldiers, nevertheless of your faith.


On 30 November 2015, the Baltimore Sun reported the a commonwealth court in Maryland rule the Bladensburg cross was constitutional, a decision that motivated the December 2016 appeal:

The U.S. Ar Court for the district of Maryland rule  that also though the Bladensburg world War ns Veterans Memorial, a 40-foot-tall monument erected in 1925, bring away the form of a cross, its purpose is not generally religious. Therefore, the court found, that does no violate the an initial Amendment’s provision the “Congress shall do no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Social media individuals were riled when again around the debate after the fourth Circuit Court that Appeals i rejected the ruling, prompting a Fox News opinion obelisk by Todd Starnes top top 18 October 2017:

In 2014, the American Humanist combination — a team that to trust in “being an excellent without a god” — filed a lawsuit alleging the cross-shaped memorial is unconstitutional and demanding it be demolished, altered, or eliminated … on <17 October 2017>, the fourth Circuit Court the Appeals agreed and also ruled the historic memorial should be torn down — all because the Bladensburg Memorial is in the shape of a cross.

<…>

I warned american in my new book, “The Deplorables’ guide to do America great Again,” that the war against religious liberty and traditional American values is much from over.

A militant group of atheists, agnostics and free-thinkers desire to eradicate Christianity in the general public marketplace. The only means to avoid this angry scourge is for civilization of belief to stand together and also fight ago in the courts.

Starnes walk not mention that the American Humanist Association’s “ the federal government to erect one inclusive monument that will certainly honor all fallen soldiers, regardless of their faith” or that the cross was on public land. The Baltimore Sun reported:

A commonwealth appeals court ruled that a 40-foot, cross-shaped battle memorial that has stood top top public floor in Maryland for virtually a century is unconstitutional because it “excessively entangles” the government with religious beliefs … The 2-1 judgment reverses a 2015 ar court decision that discovered the objective of the overcome is not primarily religious and the the site has been used almost exclusively because that celebrating commonwealth holidays.

Supporters the the memorial have raised the impact an adverse decision might have on various other sites — notably, Arlington nationwide Cemetery. The cross are common on headstones and elsewhere at the cemetery. A 24-foot granite cross, the Canadian cross of Sacrifice, is positioned close to the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The court dismissed the notion that the 2 sites room related.

“The the cross there are much smaller than the 40-foot high monolith at problem here,” the court wrote. “And, significantly, Arlington national Cemetery displays diverse spiritual symbols, both together monuments and also on separation, personal, instance headstones.”

Chief Judge i get it L. Gregory, composing in dissent, questioned the legal meaning of the cross’s size.

See more: Scam Alert: Watch Out For Free Delta Airlines Giving Away Free Tickets ?

“In the majority’s view, the memorial is unconstitutional based primarily on the size of the cross, and neither that secular functions nor background could get rid of the presumption,” Gregory wrote. “But such a conclusion is contradictory to our constitutional directive.”


Recent UpdatesUpdated <19 October 2017>: included information about a 17 October 2017 reversal the the 2015 decision deeming the conservation of Bladensburg overcome constitutionally sound.
Published9 December 2016Updated19 October 2017
bladensburg cross