Supreme Court Restores Sanity in Cross Debate

The United States was founded on the principles of freedom. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the separation of church and state are fundamental ideals in our society.

But liberals use these ideals to lobby for a Godless nation devoid of any moral fabric.

In recent years, the Bladensburg Peace Cross has been center-stage in an argument regarding religious symbols on public lands.

According to the Christian Science Monitor:

In 2014 local residents and the American Humanist Society objected to the enormous Latin-style cross, which has stood prominently on a patch of municipally maintained land for more than a century, commemorating local boys who fell in World War I. Many Jewish veterans found the official government use of a cross to be both humiliating and theologically offensive.

“The government’s giant cross in Bladensburg sends an obvious message of religious favoritism, and today’s decision holding otherwise is deeply disappointing,” said Daniel Mach, director of the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, in a statement. “The silver lining, though, is that the ruling is limited to the unique circumstances of this particular monument. It’s hardly a free pass for government officials to promote their preferred religious symbols and messages in the future.”

Such purported “favoritism,” too, is understood within the current upheavals throughout American society, as it becomes both less Christian and less white. Explicit Christian symbols placed on government buildings and civic properties didn’t cause much stir before World War II, experts note. In his concurring opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer noted that removing a century-old monument would signal “a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions.”

Unfortunately, these days liberals view symbols such as the Bladensburg cross as evidence of “religious supremacy.” Thus, leftists continually demand their removal. Then, the very same leftists invite Muslim traditions with open arms. The hypocrisy is mind boggling.

7 to 2

With a 7 to 2 ruling, seven justices went one way and two went the other. Oddly, some are calling it a “narrow win,” as if the decision was a 5:4 or even 6:3 split. However, a 7:2 decision stands on pretty solid ground if you ask me.

Of course it’s no surprise Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor erred on the side of leftism.

While noting the immensity of the Latin cross, Ginsburg called it the “foremost symbol of the Christian faith.” Thus, according to Ginsburg, “By maintaining the Peace Cross on a public highway, the [Bladensburg] Commission elevates Christianity over other faiths, and religion over nonreligion.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor shared Ginsburg’s point of view:

“Memorializing the service of American soldiers is an ‘admirable and unquestionably secular’ objective. But the Commission does not serve that objective by displaying a symbol that bears ‘a starkly sectarian message.’”

It’s not just a cross.

This is about a memorial. This cross was erected to honor 49 men from Prince George’s County who fell in the Great War. At the time, the land was privately owned. Arguably, when the memorial was first built, a priest did reside over the dedication, and prayers were said for the fallen. But if that constitutes forced religion, why does congress still say a prayer each time they convene?

In fact, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, it is entirely possible for the memorial to be both a cross, and non-secular.

The forty-foot tall cross, surrounded by other monuments memorializing armed conflicts, does not proselytize, evangelize, or proclaim the Christian faith as a government-sanctioned religion. It does not coerce citizens into participating in a religious exercise or practice.

One need not look beyond the memorial itself to understand the important civic role the Peace Cross serves. On the pedestal of the monument is a bronze plaque that reads:


Inscribed at the base of the monument are four words: “VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE, and DEVOTION.”

Also written on the monument is a statement from President Woodrow Wilson. In his request for a declaration of war, Wilson wrote: “The right is more precious than peace. We shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts. To such a task we dedicate our lives.”

The fact that the Bladensburg memorial was created in the shape of a Latin cross poses no Establishment Clause problem. As we point out in our amicus brief, quoting from an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the last time the Supreme Court considered a cross memorial:

a Latin cross is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs. It is a symbol often used to honor and respect those whose heroic acts, noble contributions, and patient striving help secure an honored place in history for this Nation and its people. . . . It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles. [These] tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.

In short, the idea that the Peace Cross constitutes an “establishment of religion” is just plain wrong… As the late Chief Justice Rehnquist once wrote, “Simply having religious content or promoting a message consistent with a religious doctrine does not run afoul of the Establishment Clause.”

Define Offended

Of course, to properly argue this case, it’s important to define what’s commonly known as “offended observer” standing.

Under that theory, a court has the authority to decide a challenge to a public display based on nothing more than that observation of the display causes offense, hurt feelings, or ideological objection. Groups like the American Humanist Association, the ACLU, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation have used this theory to challenge everything from nativity scenes, to Ten Commandments displays, to memorial crosses, like the one at issue in this case.

The critical problem with “offended observer” standing is that it is inconsistent with Article III of the U.S. Constitution. Article III mandates, among other things, that federal courts only rule upon cases or controversies. This means, first and foremost, that the party bringing a case to federal court must be injured in some way. Without an injury, there can be no case; without a case, there can be no decision.

Obviously, we have to start injecting some common sense into our governing. We shouldn’t destroy history because it includes a nod to our higher power. Further, if we allow people to sue someone every time their panties get twisted, the courts’ backlog would take decades to wade through. Imagine the tens of thousands of leftists who would sue Trump just because he makes their blood boil.


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