American Family Association Applauds SCOTUS Decision to Keep Bladensburg Peace Cross
Opinion Announced Today Reverses Lower Court Ruling; Court Says Cross That Honors Fallen Heroes Can Remain in Maryland
TUPELO, Miss.—American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is applauding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision that the Bladensburg Peace Cross can stay in Maryland as a tribute to local heroes who gave their lives during World War I.
For the 7-2 decision on The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, SCOTUS ruled that the cross can remain where it has stood for more than 90 years.
“Those who are against all symbols of Christianity are attempting to remake America into a secular wasteland, which could not be further from what our founders intended,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Today, they did not succeed, as the Supreme Court rightly ruled in favor of the religious liberties of the people of Maryland who erected the cross in honor of 49 fallen sons and brothers. Today, the Constitution was upheld, and religious freedom scored a victory. We applaud the Supreme Court Justices who ruled that the Bladensburg Cross is indeed constitutional and will remain a powerful symbol in ‘the land of the free.’”
According to Townhall.com, the 40-foot cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, “has been a source of controversy for years.” A local post of The American Legion erected the cross in 1925, but the American Humanist Association called the cross unconstitutional and sued in 2014, “arguing the cross violated the Establishment Clause and demanded its removal.” The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had agreed with the plaintiffs and declared the cross unconstitutional. That ruling was reversed today by the Supreme Court.
SCOTUSblog.com reported that the Court said the cross “has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions. And contrary to respondents’ intimations, there is no evidence of discriminatory intent in the selection of the design of the memorial or the decision of a Maryland commission to maintain it. The Religion Clause of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim.”
Justice Samuel Alito offered the majority opinion, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe, on-air personality and senior producer for D. James Kennedy Ministries, wrote on the case for AFA’s blog site, “The Stand,” in February when the justices heard the case.
“In 1955, President Eisenhower said, ‘Without God, there could be no American form of Government, nor an American way of life,’” Newcombe wrote. “‘Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism. Thus the founding fathers of America saw it, and thus with God’s help, it will continue to be.’”