Towering over the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Alternate Route 1 stands a 40-foot-tall cross bearing the names of 49 fallen Prince George’s County veterans of World War I.
The cross has stood for nearly a century. Now, a 2-1 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit threatens to bring that impressive lifespan to an end.
In a lawsuit between the American Humanist Association and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the court held the cross violates two prongs of the three-pronged legal test first laid out in 1971 in Lemon v. Kurtzman, specifically, that the cross has a “principal or primary effect that advances, inhibits, or endorses religion” and fosters “an excessive entanglement between government and religion.”
Should the American Humanist Association get its way on remand, the cross could be demolished or have its horizontal beams removed “to form a non-religious slab or obelisk.” Such an outcome is unlikely in the foreseeable future, however, as the cross’s defenders vow to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary.
I hope they do.
(Read the full article here).