After last week’s 5-4 decision upholding Christian prayer at government meetings, courts are taking on cases that challenge crosses displayed in public places.
The crosses in question include the Memorial Peace Cross in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a memorial for those who died in World War I, and the Mount Soledad cross in San Diego, which Congress calls a national war memorial.
The Mount Soledad cross was built in 1954; for 25 years, critics have argued that the cross should be taken down because it stands on public land reports The Washington Post.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has already ruled that the cross is in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” Now those in favor of the cross are urging the Supreme Court to take the case.
The Memorial Peace Cross is at the beginning stages of litigation, as the American Humanist Association has challenged its right to stand on government-owned land.
A cross erected in the Mojave National preserve as a war memorial was permitted to remain standing because it was on private land but some still criticized the decision.
“I certainly agree that the nation should memorialize the service of those who fought and died in World War I, but it cannot lawfully do so by continued endorsement of a starkly sectarian message,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote.
Publication date: May 12, 2014