The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against militant atheist demands and said that the 40-foot-tall Bladensburg Cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, can remain in place at an intersection that is on public property.
The nation’s highest court has ruled that removing the cross would be seen as “hostility” toward religion in a nation that is supposed to hold freedom of religion as a first principle.
The Bladensburg Cross “has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority.
“And contrary to respondents’ intimations, there is no evidence of discriminatory intent in the selection of the design of the memorial or the decision of a Maryland commission to maintain it,” Alito continued. “The Religion Clause of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim.”
The SCOTUS decision reverses a lower court that ruled that the Christian cross was illegal and had to be torn down.
The new ruling is a major win for freedom of religion and can lead to protecting other similar monuments across the nation.
Alito argued that the cross had essentially become secular. He invoked the history of World War I memorials noting the rows and rows of crosses and stars of David at cemeteries that memorialized those who died in that war and that established in people’s minds, in his view, that that was a way to honor to dead.
The “Peace Cross” has stood in place for almost 100 years at this point.
The concrete cross at the center of the court’s decision is located in the middle of a busy median strip and directly across the street from a large pawnshop in Bladensburg, Md.
It was erected nearly 100 years ago when bereaved mothers in Bladensburg decided to build a World War I memorial to honor their fallen sons. When they ran out of money, the American Legion took over the project. But by the 1930s, a local parks commission had taken over the memorial and the responsibility for its maintenance.
This is a fantastic victory, a long time coming.
What leftists and Democrats hate to have pointed out to them is that our Constitution says freedom “OF” religion, but NOT freedom “FROM” religion.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.