Back in 1925, the American Legion erected a memorial in Bladensburg, Md., to honor the memory of 49 men who perished during World War I.
The 40-foot tall memorial became known as the “Peace Cross.”
In 2014, the American Humanist Association — a group that believes in “being good without a god” — filed a lawsuit alleging the cross-shaped memorial is unconstitutional and demanding it be demolished, altered, or removed.
They alleged the cross carries “an inherently religious message and creates the unmistakable appearance of honoring only Christian servicemen.”
On Wednesday, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed and ruled the historic memorial must be torn down — all because the Bladensburg Memorial is in the shape of a cross.
The Fourth Circuit said the memorial excessively entangles the government in religion because the cross is the “core symbol of Christianity” and “breaches” the wall separating church and state.
Writing separately, Chief Judge Gregory wrote
THIS MEMORIAL STANDS IN WITNESS TO THE VALOR, ENDURANCE, COURAGE, AND DEVOTION OF THE FORTY-NINE RESIDENTS OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND ‘WHO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE GREAT WAR FOR THE LIBERTY OF THE WORLD.’ I CANNOT AGREE THAT A MONUMENT SO CONCEIVED AND DEDICATED AND THAT BEARS SUCH WITNESS VIOLATES THE LETTER OR SPIRIT OF THE VERY CONSTITUTION THESE HEROES DIED TO DEFEND.
The American Legion could appeal directly to the Supreme Court.