The Supreme Court will soon decide the constitutionality of a towering cross-shaped memorial to Maryland men who died in the First World War. In November 2018 the justices agreed to hear a case in which the American Legion is asking the high court to reverse a 2017 Fourth Circuit Court ruling that the memorial violates the First Amendment’s prohibition of the government establishing a religion.
If anyone wishes to understand Donald Trump’s popularity with many Christian Evangelicals and conservative Catholics, this litigation should help do it. Cases like it tell us much about the reason the President appointed Kavanaugh to the bench and why so many Christians supported Trump during the 2016 elections. The coming decision may also be a gauge of the conservatism of the current Supreme Court with Justice Brett Kavanaugh on the bench.
The 40-foot-tall “Peace Cross” in Bladensburg, Maryland, was erected in 1925 to honor men from Prince George’s County who died in the Great War. It was erected by the American Legion on private property, but in 1961 the state of Maryland took possession of the land on which the monument stands. The American Humanist Association challenged the legality of the monument, citing the First Amendment Establishment Clause. A federal judge ruled against the plaintiffs, but the Fourth Circuit overturned that ruling and declared that the size and form of the memorial made it unconstitutional. In oral arguments, one judge suggested that cutting off the arms of the cross might be a solution.
What utter nonsense! How can we have allowed the assault on tradition and religious liberty to go so far? In its appeal to the Supreme Court, the American Legion pointed out that if the appeals court decision is allowed to stand “it will also render unconstitutional the two principal WWI memorials in Arlington National Cemetery, which likewise are freestanding crosses residing in the Fourth Circuit.”
It is difficult for me to understand the motives of the American Humanist Association in bringing this suit. Do these people truly believe that we are trying to establish some sort of national religion? These monument builders were simply honoring their war dead in a way that seemed appropriate to them.
I anxiously await the Supreme Court’s decision on this case. May common sense prevail.