Supreme Court offers possible ground for historic memorial cross to stay
The US Supreme Court seemed to lean towards preserving a historic cross-shaped memorial in Maryland on Wednesday without making overall clarifications about the constitutionality of religious symbols on public property.
The justices heard oral arguments about a 93-year-old cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, that pays tribute to local World War I veterans that is viewed by opponents as an endorsement of religion and by supporters as a secular monument.
Before the arguments began, people from both sides gathered at the front of the Supreme Court on the chilly but sunny winter morning. The memorial’s opponents held aloft placards or wore hats or buttons with the words “#honour them all” and spoke about importance of not singling out the Christian faith tradition for a memorial when people of many faiths have fought and died in battles.
Those gathered in support of the monument, many older men in American Legion caps, insisted that the memorial had nothing to do with religion. Will Trotter, vice commander with American Legion for Maryland, said taking down the monument would be an affront to those who “fought valiantly in World War I” and to family members who wanted these men remembered in that spot and view the cross as a grave marker.
Justices took in both sides in the hour and a half of arguments where they paid particular attention to whether or not the monument was endorsing or proselytising religion and if its placement on a parcel of land on a busy road was different than on the top of a city hall building, for example.
Photo: A cross-shaped World War I memorial, a landmark in Bladensburg, Maryland.Tags: Bladensburg Maryland, Christian, cross-shaped memorial, faith, historic, religion, religious symbol, US Supreme Court, World War I veterans