Peace Cross Survives: Mikey Weinstein’s Lawsuits Now 0 for 6
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein maintained his perfect record of zero wins in his years of lawsuits against the American government over religion.
Many may not even be aware he had been part of another lawsuit, but in May of this year Weinstein said he had “join[ed] forces” with the American Humanist Association to try to have the Bladensburg Peace Cross torn down. (Despite innumerable threats, Weinstein hasn’t filed a lawsuit on his own in years.) The Peace Cross is a 90-year old World War I memorial in Maryland.
In a summary judgment, a Federal court just dismissed (PDF) that lawsuit.
Importantly, US District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow’s ruling avoids the semantic gymnastics of other cases by not trying to avoid the fact that a cross is, indeed, a religious symbol. The ruling says that simply being a cross does not inherently mean it is unconstitutional [emphasis added]:
Although the Latin cross is undeniably a religious symbol, “[t]he fact that the monument conveys some religious meaning does not cast doubt on the [government’s] valid secular purposes for its display.”
Also importantly, the ruling cites other cases and acknowledges what this site and others have repeated many times: The Latin cross has significant meaning in war memorials, and not as an explicitly Christian symbol [emphasis added]:
“[The Monument] evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten.” The evocation of foreign graves is particularly relevant here because…the Monument explicitly memorializes forty-nine servicemen who died in Europe during World War I, and the “cross developed into a central symbol of the American overseas cemetery” during and following World War I.
There are people and organizations who will fight the public expression and display of any sort of religiosity (and this would have just been one more step to the crosses in Arlington National Cemetery). Mikey Weinstein is one of those people, and his focus is almost exclusively the US military and Christianity. Despite this loss, Weinstein won’t stop at memorials. Weinstein wants Christian troops prohibited from expressing their Christian faith, and Weinstein has explicitly stated his opposition to Christians serving in the US military at all.
Fortunately, a court in this case recognized this unnecessary assault on a public display, but not every court is as reasonable. Mikey Weinstein will continue to attack military religious freedom, sometimes merely throwing mud against the wall to see what sticks. If left unopposed, he may sometimes succeed — not because a court agrees with him, as his record shows, but because someone tries to appease him without recognizing the nature of his vitriolic (and baseless) attacks on basic religious liberty.
Fortunately, there are groups willing to defend the religious freedom of American troops, but Weinstein keeps them hard at work. If you need them, give them a call.
The Bladensburg Peace Cross was defended by the Liberty Institute, in partnership with the law firm Jones Day — which, interestingly enough, is the same firm Mikey Weinstein often uses.