Supreme Court: 40-foot tall, cross-shaped World War I memorial can continue to stand on public land in Maryland

  
By:  texan1211  •  4 months ago  •  42 comments

Supreme Court: 40-foot tall, cross-shaped World War I memorial can continue to stand on public land in Maryland

WASHINGTON (AP) — A World War I memorial in the shape of a 40-foot-tall cross can continue to stand on public land in Maryland, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The justices, in ruling 7-2 in favor of the cross' backers, concluded that the nearly 100-year-old memorial's presence on a grassy highway median doesn't violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over others.
The case had been closely watched because it involves the place of religious symbols in public life. Defenders of the cross in Bladensburg had argued that a ruling against them could doom of hundreds of war memorials that use crosses to commemorate soldiers who died. "The cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent," Justice Samuel Alito wrote.
"For some, that monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices to our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark. For many of these people, destroying or defacing the Cross that has stood undisturbed for nearly a century would not be neutral and would not further the ideals of respect and tolerance embodied in the First Amendment. For all these reasons, the Cross does not offend the Constitution," he wrote. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
The cross' challengers included three area residents and the District of Columbia-based American Humanist Association, which includes atheists and agnostics. They argued that the cross, in a suburb near the nation's capital, should be moved to private property or modified into a nonreligious monument such as a slab or obelisk.
Defenders included the American Legion, which raised money to build the monument honoring area residents who died in World War I. Other backers included the Trump administration and Maryland officials who took over maintenance of the cross nearly 60 years ago to preserve it and address traffic safety concerns.
Maryland officials had argued that the cross, sometimes called the "Peace Cross," doesn't violate the Constitution because it has a secular purpose and meaning. In the past, similar monuments have met with a mixed fate at the high court.
On the same day in 2005, for example, the court upheld a Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Texas Capitol while striking down Ten Commandments displays in Kentucky courthouses.
After those rulings and others the Supreme Court has been criticized for being less than clear in explaining how to analyze so-called passive displays such as Maryland's cross, that are challenged as violating the Constitution's establishment clause.

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Texan1211
1  author  Texan1211    4 months ago
The justices, in ruling 7-2 in favor of the cross' backers, concluded that the nearly 100-year-old memorial's presence on a grassy highway median doesn't violate the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over others.
The case had been closely watched because it involves the place of religious symbols in public life. Defenders of the cross in Bladensburg had argued that a ruling against them could doom of hundreds of war memorials that use crosses to commemorate soldiers who died. "The cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol, but that fact should not blind us to everything else that the Bladensburg Cross has come to represent," Justice Samuel Alito wrote.
"For some, that monument is a symbolic resting place for ancestors who never returned home. For others, it is a place for the community to gather and honor all veterans and their sacrifices to our Nation. For others still, it is a historical landmark. For many of these people, destroying or defacing the Cross that has stood undisturbed for nearly a century would not be neutral and would not further the ideals of respect and tolerance embodied in the First Amendment. For all these reasons, the Cross does not offend the Constitution," he wrote.
 
 
 
Split Personality
1.1  Split Personality  replied to  Texan1211 @1    4 months ago

You beat me to seeding this, lol.

7-2 win for common sense.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.1  author  Texan1211  replied to  Split Personality @1.1    4 months ago

I wish the article stated the two dissenters legal reasoning for their positions.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  Split Personality @1.1    4 months ago

He beat us all!


Nice going Tex!

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1.3  evilgenius  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.1    4 months ago

Source -

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in dissent, disagreed with Alito's history. She noted that it's clear what the purpose and meaning of the cross was from the start — it was religious. She argued Americans knew what it meant then and know what it means now.

"Decades ago," Ginsburg wrote, "this Court recognized that the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution demands governmental neutrality among religious faiths, and between religion and nonreligion. ... Numerous times since, the Court has reaffirmed the Constitution's commitment to neutrality. Today the Court erodes that neutrality commitment, diminishing precedent designed to preserve individual liberty and civic harmony in favor of a 'presumption of constitutionality for longstanding monuments, symbols, and practices.' "

She adds, "The Latin cross is the foremost symbol of the Christian faith, embodying the 'central theological claim of Christianity: that the son of God died on the cross, that he rose from the dead, and that his death and resurrection offer the possibility of eternal life.' ... Precisely because the cross symbolizes these sectarian beliefs, it is a common marker for the graves of Christian soldiers. For the same reason, using the cross as a war memorial does not transform it into a secular symbol, as the Courts of Appeals have uniformly recognized."

In my opinion the argument Justice Alito makes - saying the monument has become secular should highly piss off the religious. It dilutes their symbols of faith to the point they are meaningless. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.4  author  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.3    4 months ago
In my opinion the argument Justice Alito makes - saying the monument has become secular should highly piss off the religious. It dilutes their symbols of faith to the point they are meaningless.

You must hold a low opinion of people's faith then. 

What someone SAYS will never deter my faith. I decide for MYSELF what is right, wrong, important and unimportant.

What others, especially people with no faith, think of symbols or religion matters not to me.

How could they possibly diminish my faith with their mere words?

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1.5  evilgenius  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.4    4 months ago
You must hold a low opinion of people's faith then. 

If one needs a 40 ft cross to monument their faith then it must be fragile to start with. Now it's not even a symbol of Christianity it's a direction marker to find an auto parts store.

 
 
 
Split Personality
1.1.6  Split Personality  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.4    4 months ago
What someone SAYS will never deter my faith. I decide for MYSELF what is right, wrong, important and unimportant.

Wonderful, that's the way it should be.

What others, especially people with no faith, think of symbols or religion matters not to me.

Apparently it annoys you, since you make the same proclamation many times a year here.

How could they possibly diminish my faith with their mere words?

It should not, nor does it warrant any comment.  Live and let live.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.7  author  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.5    4 months ago

Then it shouldn't bother you in the least, and you should admit that the lawsuit was frivolous to start with.

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.8  author  Texan1211  replied to  Split Personality @1.1.6    4 months ago
Apparently it annoys you, since you make the same proclamation many times a year here.

What really annoys me is the nonreligious whack-a-doodles who bring frivolous lawsuits like this one.

The memorial wasn't harming anyone, no one was being coerced into religion.

Just some nutjobs with nothing better to do, I suppose.

It should not, nor does it warrant any comment. Live and let live.

And you demonstrate that by commenting anyways?

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.9  author  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.5    4 months ago
If one needs a 40 ft cross to monument their faith then it must be fragile to start with.

Maybe people who insist that there is no God are so fragile in their beliefs that a cross existing in a place for damn near 100 years is somehow a threat to them and has to be removed to not offend their delicate sensibilities.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
1.1.10  Greg Jones  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.5    4 months ago

They don't really NEED it, it is simply a symbol of their faith. This has been going on for thousands of years....cultures and civilizations erecting monuments, temples, and even BIG ass pyramids to show respect and devotion to their gods.

 
 
 
Split Personality
1.1.11  Split Personality  replied to  Texan1211 @1.1.8    4 months ago
What really annoys me is the nonreligious whack-a-doodles who bring frivolous lawsuits like this one.

The memorial wasn't harming anyone, no one was being coerced into religion.

Just some nutjobs with nothing better to do, I suppose.

Agreed

And you demonstrate that by commenting anyways?

My comment questioned why you would even entertain the question of your faith being diminished by mere words.

It was in agreement, but by all means, twist it around and have the last word.

 
 
 
Sunshine
1.1.12  Sunshine  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.5    4 months ago
If one needs a 40 ft cross to monument their faith

It isn't a monument to faith, but you know that don't you?

Any opportunity to bash religion, even when the monument was erected for World War 1 soldiers.  Is there no low folks will go to demonize religion and act like an ass.

 
 
 
evilgenius
1.1.13  evilgenius  replied to  Greg Jones @1.1.10    4 months ago
They don't really NEED it...

Then why put it up?

...it is simply a symbol of their faith.

No longer according to the court. It's just a landmark that no one wants to fund upkeep. 

This has been going on for thousands of years....cultures and civilizations erecting monuments, temples, and even BIG ass pyramids to show respect and devotion to their gods.

For thousands of years people have been putting their egos on display and calling it any number of things. There is nothing in the Bible commanding worshipers to create monuments. 

 
 
 
Texan1211
1.1.14  author  Texan1211  replied to  evilgenius @1.1.13    4 months ago
Then why put it up?

Because it is a memorial to those who gave al to this country. You got a problem with honoring dead soldiers or something?

No longer according to the court. It's just a landmark that no one wants to fund upkeep.

I would love to see you actually prove that rather bizarre statement. Where did you hear that no one wants to fund the upkeep?

For thousands of years people have been putting their egos on display and calling it any number of things. There is nothing in the Bible commanding worshipers to create monuments.

Is there anything in the Bible OR our laws forbidding doing such?

 
 
 
lady in black
2  lady in black    4 months ago

Good outcome.  I don't look at it as a religious symbol, I see it as a memorial to the men that died in WWI.  Signed, a Gold Star Mom

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
3  Sean Treacy    4 months ago

The scary thing is the Supreme Court had to reverse the 4th Circuit.

This should have been laughed out of Court when it was filed.

 
 
 
Texan1211
3.1  author  Texan1211  replied to  Sean Treacy @3    4 months ago

I agree on that. I wish plaintiffs had to pay the legal fees incurred because of their frivolous lawsuits.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
3.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Texan1211 @3.1    4 months ago
I wish plaintiffs had to pay the legal fees incurred because of their frivolous lawsuits.

Oh, I couldn't agree more. We should go for it every time the ACLU is involved!

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
4  Vic Eldred    4 months ago

Justice Samuel Alito, a conservative, wrote for the majority that although the cross is a religious symbol, “its use in the Bladensburg memorial has special significance” because it functions as a war memorial.

“For nearly a century, the Bladensburg cross has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifices, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought,” he added.

To tear the cross down now could be seen as an act of hostility against religion, Alito said.



https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-cross/u-s-supreme-court-upholds-maryland-peace-cross-in-church-and-state-test-case-idUSKCN1TL1RI

 
 
 
Texan1211
4.1  author  Texan1211  replied to  Vic Eldred @4    4 months ago

I just wish people would stop being faux-offended over such things as a cross on a memorial.

I am just surprised that one or more of the clowns hasn't sued over the Washington Monument being an obelisk-- a known religious symbol.

Just a matter of time, I suppose.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
4.1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Texan1211 @4.1    4 months ago

To the SCOTUS!


happy-couple-laughing-holding-wine-glass

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
5  Vic Eldred    4 months ago

KICyvXVn_bigger.jpg
@SenTedCruz


"I was proud to lead the amicus brief with

on behalf of 109 Members of Congress to #SCOTUS ."

 
 
 
Sunshine
6  Sunshine    4 months ago

It is a beautiful memorial to our veterans and I like how it is in the public view not hidden in some park.  A daily reminder of the sacrifices made.

 

 
 
 
Tacos!
7  Tacos!    4 months ago

This one just never seemed that hard to me. Thankfully, common sense has won.

But there is a small group of people out there who who have decided that they are going to get bent about every little remotely religious display and run to court over it. I don't think it really affects their lives, but like Don Quixote, it gives them a windmill to tilt at.

 
 
 
squiggy
8  squiggy    4 months ago

Poof. Poof. Poof, poof poof. Poofpoofpoofpoof.

 
 
 
Kathleen
9  Kathleen    4 months ago

So glad they are letting it stay.  At least there are some people that have good sense.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
10  Buzz of the Orient    4 months ago

I'm not a Christian, and I am quite happy that (most of) the SCOTUS has applied common sense in a decision that flies in the face of the pussies who are unable to withstand REALITY.  I hope it's a sign of more common sense decisions to come.  Isn't it about time that Ginsburg retired?  Sottomayor should stay there because AOC will need SOMEONE to defend her idiocy.

 
 
 
charger 383
11  charger 383    4 months ago

Wasn't the cross on private land when built and when the highway was widened the land ended up becoming part of the highway medium?

 
 
 
katrix
11.1  katrix  replied to  charger 383 @11    4 months ago

Nope.  It was on town land from the start .. apparently the care of it was given over to the American Legion post.

 
 
 
charger 383
11.1.1  charger 383  replied to  katrix @11.1    4 months ago

Thanks.  I wasn't sure about that.  Do you know if some agreement was made when highway was widened? 

 
 
 
Texan1211
11.1.2  author  Texan1211  replied to  katrix @11.1    4 months ago
Nope. It was on town land from the start .. apparently the care of it was given over to the American Legion post.

It was actually built on private land.

From Wikipedia:

The cross was originally built on private lands, but the lands were turned over to the state's Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1961.

 
 
 
Texan1211
11.1.3  author  Texan1211  replied to  charger 383 @11.1.1    4 months ago

The cross is part of a memorial park.

Other structures are there.

The land has been heavily developed over the years, with a divided highway passing by it and the memorial on its median. The Commission installed nighttime illumination to avoid this becoming a safety hazard. Additional, more war memorial structures have been erected in the same general area, creating the Veterans Memorial Park.[7]
The memorial was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.[1]ikipedia

 
 
 
katrix
11.1.4  katrix  replied to  Texan1211 @11.1.2    4 months ago

I just saw that.  Yet another article stated otherwise.  So ... who knows.  The American Legion website didn't say either way.

 
 
 
 
katrix
11.1.6  katrix  replied to  Texan1211 @11.1.5    4 months ago

Got it, thanks. Although the point of the court challenge was is that now it's public land.

To me, a historic cross as a memorial to veterans is somewhat similar to all the national cemeteries near my house; I really don't expect anyone to go around replacing all the crosses that mark the graves with little gravestones. I don't for a minute believe that they're secular, but it's not a battle I would fight.

 
 
 
Texan1211
11.1.7  author  Texan1211  replied to  katrix @11.1.6    4 months ago

I think it was a frivolous suit over someone faux-offended over a cross that had been standing for nearly 100 years. No government involved EVER tried to establish a religion, no one was coerced in any way because of the cross memorial and the plaintiffs should have been made to pay attorney fees to defend against this stupid-ass lawsuit.

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
12  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh    4 months ago

When I see a cross my eyes catch fire. Maybe I need to be exercised by a priest. Don't tell the puritans, I don't want to be burned at the stake.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
12.1  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @12    4 months ago
exercised

um...

 
 
 
†hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh
12.1.1  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @12.1    4 months ago

Wait, that maybe the problem, good catch. Yikes.....heading to therapy to undergo hypnosis.

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
12.1.2  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom  replied to  †hε pε⊕pレε'š ƒïšh @12.1.1    4 months ago

I've seen your bod.  Trust me,  you've done just fine exercising on your own... 

 
 
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