Bladensburg Peace Cross Defended at Fourth Circuit

The American Humanist Association’s bid to have the Bladensburg Peace Cross war memorial torn down (or its cross member sawn off) continued this month with oral arguments at the Fourth Circuit court of appeals. The AHA lost their case last year and appealed in December 2015.

The First Liberty Institute, which is defending the cross, accurately noted what has been said here many times: If this cross has to come down, so do many others:

“If the Bladensburg Memorial must come down, then so too must the many veterans memorials across the country which bear religious imagery,” the First Liberty Institute…“This would require tearing down the Argonne Cross in Arlington (National) Cemetery and sandblasting the word “God” from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

Even most mainstream critics wouldn’t want it to go that far, yet the logic is ultimately the same and it demonstrates the ridiculous nature of their demands. That said, at least one atheist would go that far: Jason Torpy has advocated for tearing down the cross in Arlington National Cemetery.

The cross is being defended by dozens of states, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and the American Legion. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty also filed an amicus brief:

“What’s next, airbrushing the word ‘God’ out of the Declaration of Independence and the Gettysburg Address?” Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund, said in a written statement.

Most rational people understand the government is under no requirement to scrub references to religion from the public square, and that the presence of a cross along the side of a highway does not establish a religion. Then again, not everyone is rational.

In an interesting administrative note, First Liberty is working with the law firm Jones Day, a firm which has also worked with Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. Mikey Weinstein previously said he had “join[ed] forces” with the AHA in this lawsuit against the Bladensburg Cross — not long before they lost, making Weinstein’s judicial victory record an impressive 0 for 6.

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