ICC Note: In 2014, the American Humanist Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit against Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission regarding a veterans memorial on government property depicting a cross. However, in November of 2015, a judge ruled that the memorial was constitutional because it is being used to honor veterans instead of for the purpose of promoting Christianity. The AHA has since filed an appeal, hoping to seek a ruling that the memorial is unconstitutional.
By Heather Clark
12/29/2015 United States (Christian News Network) – A humanist group in Washington, D.C. has filed an appeal of a recent ruling declaring a veterans memorial in the shape of a cross to be constitutional.
As previously reported, the Bladensburg World War I Veterans Memorial, also known as the “peace cross,” was erected in 1925 by the American Legion to honor the lives of 49 men from Prince George County who died during the war.
The cross stands 40 feet tall in Memorial Park, and also features a plaque that reads, “The right is more precious than the peace; we shall fight for the things we have always carried nearest our hearts; to such a task we dedicate ourselves.” The site is mainly used by the American Legion for Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations.
Last year, the American Humanist Association (AHA) sued the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission over the presence of the cross, alleging that it violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
“When the government erects an exclusively Christian monument on government property, it violates this central command of the Establishment Clause by sending a clear message that Christianity is the preferred religion over all others,” said AHA attorney Monica Miller in a statement surrounding the filing of the suit.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow ruled that the monument is constitutional because it is used for nonreligious purposes and is meant to honor war vets rather than promote any religious message.