In a major win for religious rights, American tradition, and common sense, the Supreme Court ruled that the Bladensburg World War I Memorial Cross can remain on public land.
The court’s ruling was 7-2, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissenting from the majority. The cross is considered religious, the majority said, but it’s also a war memorial with “special significance” that protects it from removal.
The victory is important for people who are concerned about Supreme Court activism and encroachments on the principles of limited government. For more information on the role and responsibilities of the Supreme Court, check this out: The Supreme Court: A Conversation w/Bruce Ashford.
Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty (the organization representing the American Legion against the American Humanist Association) said, “This is a landmark victory for religious freedom. The days of illegitimately weaponizing the Establishment Clause and attacking religious symbols in public are over. Our Founders would have been appalled at this attempt to make the government hostile to our religious heritage, history, and symbols. The attempted perversion of our Constitution is now over, and every American now has more freedom than they have had in decades, with a government no longer hostile to people or expressions of faith.”
If the Court had ruled in the other direction, we could be seeing the end of crosses marking the graves of fallen service members ON government PROPERTY, such as Arlington National Cemetery.
The majority opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito. He wrote, “The Religion Clauses of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim.”
in 2012, the American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit claiming the government was endorsing Christianity because it allowed the cross to exist on public land. This Supreme Court ruling has torn down that narrative.
The case has been looked at with great anticipation by both atheists and religious people, because the ruling from the Supreme Court will set a precedent on how the government can treat other monuments of historical and religious significance. If the Court had ruled in the other direction, we could be seeing the end of crosses marking the graves of fallen service members on government property, such as Arlington National Cemetery. Now, the families of our national heroes don’t have to worry about their loved ones being dishonored.