U.S. Supreme Court Deals with 40-Foot-Tall Cross Monument Case

The Supreme Court recently wrestled with how to maintain a constitutional distance between church and state while preserving a 40-foot Latin cross on government property.

By the end of the oral argument, it appeared the justices had found a way: By deciding that the “Peace Cross” in Bladensburg, Maryland, is essentially grandfathered in, but new religious displays might not get equal treatment.

“What about saying past is past,” Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said by way of defending the towering monument, “but no more?”

Part of the problem was the high court’s own convoluted case history: a series of high court rulings on the intersection of government and religion that some justices acknowledged has left the rules in disarray.

But by setting clear rules for such displays, the justices knew they could endanger monuments from coast to coast – or allow even more to be built. Their goal appeared to be simple: Don’t add or subtract from the status quo.
“There are cross monuments all over the country, many of them quite old,”

Associate Justice Samuel Alito told Monica Miller, the lawyer representing an association of atheists and others objecting to the Christian cross on government land. “Do you want them all taken down?”

The question before the court was simple: Does the 93-year-old monument violate the First Amendment, which prohibits government establishment of religion? 

The answer might very well be yes, but few of the justices want to see it moved, mutilated or demolished. Conceived in 1919 by bereaved mothers of the fallen and completed by the American Legion six years later, the war memorial has become part of the town’s landscape.

“It’s no ordinary cross,” said Neal Katyal, the lawyer representing the American Legion. “Not a single word of religious content appears anywhere.”

So 93-years later, human beings cannot agree on how to honor the dead who fell in war. Which is proof once again that if there is a WAY to argue about and dispute ANYTHING, humans will find it.
 
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More on the case:

Supreme Court justices search for middle ground in church-state fight over 40-foot Latin cross on state landhttps://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/02/27/church-state-dispute-leaves-supreme-court-searching-answers-cross-memorial-war-bladensburg/2659762002/