By Rachel Menitoff

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

The peace cross sits in the median of a busy intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland, right outside of Washington D.C.

The Supreme Court ruled 7-2 Thursday in favor of keeping the cross in place, saying it doesn’t violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause which prohibits the government from favoring one religion over another.

“When I was 13, my father took me to the peace cross and said, ‘Son, I want you to look at this, this is what people in this state and country think of their service and sacrifice,'” Michael Moore, of the American Legion, said.

In 1985, the cross was dedicated to veterans of all wars, but some say a Christian cross simply can’t do that.

Sarah Henry is with the American Humanist Association- one of the groups challenging the cross’ presence on public property.

They argue the peace cross should be moved to private property or modified into a non-religious monument.

“It’s frustrating to see the Supreme Court approve Christian majority favoritism at the expense of veterans of all faiths, and none who do not feel appropriately honored by a sectarian religious symbol,” Henry said.

The Supreme Court ruled to keep the peace cross in place, saying quote, “The cross does not offend The Constitution.”

Defenders of the cross include the American Legion, which has raised money to build the monument.

“It makes veterans memorials with references to religious symbols on it, Constitutional and people who object have to prove that they’re not Constitutional,” Moore said.

Governor Larry Hogan called the ruling, “a great victory.” He released a statement saying, in part, “Today’s ruling ensures that this memorial – a dignified tribute to those who came before us and made the ultimate sacrifice – will stand tall and proud for the ages.”

The two Supreme Court Justices who disagreed said, “The principal symbol of Christianity around the world should not loom over public thoroughfares.”

Rachel Menitoff

Comments (9)
  1. jgalmitz says:

    Some of us would like to know when the Supreme Court will make rulings based on the unambiguous language of the Constitution and not on their right leaning politics.

    1. Bill McHale says:

      So how exactly does a memorial cross establish a religion or prevent the free exercise there of? This is not posting the ten commandments in a court, its using a symbol that is used on many military graves as a war memorial. Yes, it is associated with Christianity, but it was not defined by the government, but by the mothers of the men it honors. Leaving it where it is after decades hardly constitutes a violation of the first amendment.

    2. Brian Dennis says:

      jgalmitz, at least we agree on the unambiguity of the Constitution of this great country. The monument is THERE. Evidently it represents something distasteful to a certain group of people. If that group needs to excercise their right to free speech they need to make some signs and march up and down in front of the damned thing for five or six hours or at least until the local TV crew shows up. Then they get on facebook and television for forty seconds, and everybody wins. Or wait…if they are offended by the monument, maybe just don’t look at it when they go by.

  2. Dennis Verbeek says:

    This country continues to cater to the few . Those who oppose the cross should just close their eyes as they drive by , and make the sharp turn in the road and go straight to Hell ! Those who died for them to have the Privlige to live in the land of the free!

  3. Kathleen Bly says:

    Glory to God for this ruling. I am so grateful that common sense prevails.

  4. Denise Paranich says:

    If it offends you, just think of it as the form of a utility pole!

  5. Shauna Lutrell Johnstone says:

    Go to the Library of Congress website archives of the Evening Star and read about the private dollars and bake sales and small donations from widows and parents of soldiers who died in WWI back in 1920 who paid for this monument as well as the land to place it on as a memorial for all time to the sacrifice of their loved ones. This monument was paid for in sweat and blood with no opposition from groups at the time..only love and support. No, modern haters don’t get to tear down their sacrifice because the Park Service took over it’s maintenance when these faithful people passed away. Can’t you just appreciate their love and sacrifice or have you no bone of kindness in your sad heartless old body?