The Bladensburg Memorial Cross is found Constitutional, but Atheists and Muslims still pushing to have it taken down.
The war memorial cross has been in existence in Bladensburg town since 1925. It was established in special honor of 49 veterans who sacrificed their life during World War I. The American Legion built the monument, and it resembled the shape of a Latin cross.
Today, the World War I Veterans Memorial monument is under the great care of Maryland-National Capital Park together with the planning commission.
The Latin cross shape in the monument has been a topic of contention for many years, and it has received a lot of mixed reactions from different religious and humanitarian groups. Atheists have for long been against any public display of any religious symbols.
According to them, the World War I veterans’ memorial monument resembling a Latin cross is widely exposed on a public property. They have used this to argue that the war memorial has violated the Establishment Clause as explicitly stated in First Amendment.
Similarly, the Muslim community has for many years expressed their frustration concerning the shape of the memorial monument. They regard the image of the Latin cross in the monument as a form of blasphemy, because to them, Jesus Christ is not believed to be the Son of God. They also disagree with the belief that Jesus Christ died on a Roman cross to save humanity.
It is on the basis of the above grounds that the American Humanist Association (AHA) together with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) presented an appeal to court against the Maryland State. The two groups are of the opinion that war memorial monument with a religious sign in the form of a cross violates the Constitution. The groups argued that the monument needs to be demolished, changed or even removed from the city.
However, on 30th November Maryland state Judge, Deborah Chasanow ruled the case in favor of the state. In her ruling, the judge argued that the contentious monument and its location were developed for a secular purpose, and it does not in any way advocate for or oppose a given religion.
Although the opposing groups tried to prove that the cross is a religious symbolism, the judge ruled that the monument was built and designed with the sole purpose of commemoration and not for religious purposes.
Judge: 40-foot WWI cross in Pr. George's County (Bladensburg) not a government endorsement of religion https://t.co/nBTESvkRT2
— Arelis R. Hernández (@arelisrhdz) December 1, 2015
Her ruling was also echoed by other courts that were of a similar opinion that the cross display in honor of fallen soldiers has a legal, secular purpose and not religious.
She also affirmed her ruling by finally saying that the disputed World War I memorial monument does not create any excessive entanglement for the U.S. government. She said, “Entanglement between church and state becomes constitutionally excessive only when it has the effect of advancing or inhibiting religion.”