Retired Flag Officers Support Bladensburg Peace Cross

In February the US Supreme Court will hear the case of the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a near-century old war memorial in Maryland that anti-religious groups claim is an illegal endorsement of religion.

The Cross was ruled “unconstitutional” by the Fourth Circuit, and that is how the case approaches the Supreme Court.

Many have spoken out in defense of the memorial, which might explain why one group that filed a brief in support of the cross went unnoticed.

A group of retired flag officers are asking the Court (PDF) to “correct the court of appeals’ stilted view of the First Amendment” and defend the cross.  Those officers include:

  • LtGen Michael Gould, who was Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy until 2013
  • LtGen William “Jerry” Boykin, now with the Family Research Council
  • LtGen Benjamin Mixon, who was famously scolded for encouraging troops to speak up during the repeal of DADT
  • MajGen Cecil Richardson, who was USAF Chief of Chaplains until 2012
  • MajGen Jack Catton, Jr., who was one of the earliest targets of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein
  • MajGen Robert Dees, who as worked with Liberty University and once led Campus Crusade for Christ
  • BrigGen Dana Born, who was Dean of the US Air Force Academy until 2013
  • BrigGen David Warner, who currently leads Officers’ Christian Fellowship

Nearly all of those officers have had the distinct pleasure of being attacked by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein over the years.  They are joined by several other prominent former military commanders.

One of the leading arguments against the Peace Cross is that it is inherently — and only — a religious symbol. The critics also claim those defending the cross are painting it as a non-religious symbol, essentially undermining the very meaning of the cross in a disingenuous push to preserve it.

This group of Flag officers accurately notes the cross can have multiple meanings based on context, and its use as a memorial (and many other things) is not forbidden merely because of its religious connotation in other contexts.