Tuesday, October 24, 2017

90-Year-Old WWI Cross Memorial Ruled Unconstitutional

The Fourth Circuit Court recently ruled in a 2-1 decision that a 40-foot tall cross honoring Prince George’s County, Maryland, veterans who died fighting in World War I was unconstitutional because it violates the Establishment Clause. The monument, known as the Peace Cross, was erected in 1925 with funding from local families and The American Legion and it sits on public land. It has been maintained over the years by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a state agency.

Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory, who was the sole judge voting against the majority decision, stated that the majority “ignores certain elements of the memorial … and confuses maintenance of a highway median and monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.” He also said, “This memorial stands in witness to the valor, endurance, courage and devotion of the forty-nine residents of Prince George’s County, Maryland ‘who lost their lives in the Great War for the liberty of the world.’ I cannot agree that a monument so conceived and dedicated and that bears such witness violates the letter or spirit of the very Constitution these heroes died to defend.”

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