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Atheist Group Appeals Decision to Allow 40-foot Cross to Remain on Public Property

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2015 Dec 31
  • Comments

An atheist organization is appealing a lower federal court’s decision to preserve a 40-foot cross which is part of a memorial in Maryland.


According to The Christian Post, the American Humanist Association (AHA) filed an appeal in federal court this week, seeking to overturn a ruling on Nov. 30 by U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow who ruled that the cross did not violate the Constitution's Establishment Clause as the AHA claimed.


“Although the Latin cross is undeniably a religious symbol … Other courts have recognized that displaying a cross to honor fallen soldiers is a legitimately secular purpose, and does not always promote a religious message," Judge Chasanow wrote in her decision.


“Even the purpose of the private citizens who were behind the Monument's construction 90 years ago was a predominantly secular one,” Chasanow continued … “The Monument's groundbreaking was a predominantly secular affair that also included the groundbreaking of the National Defense Highway.”


The 40-foot Bladensburg Cross is part of a war memorial erected by the American Legion in 1925.


Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the Liberty Institute which helped represent the American Legion in their defense of the cross, is optimistic that the AHA will not win the appeal.


“After a thorough analysis of the facts and the law, the Court was clear that the Memorial is completely lawful," stated Shackelford. "We are confident the Fourth Circuit will agree and uphold the constitutionality of this historic veterans memorial."



Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons


Publication date: December 31, 2015