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Lawyers push to save Peace Cross

Bladensburg, MD - A monument familiar to many Marylanders, especially residents past and present of Prince George’s County, could be legally toppled soon if proponents don’t act quickly. That’s what supporters of the famed Bladensburg Peace Cross are stating. Last fall, the organization that wants the monument removed from its location at the Route 450 - Route 1 intersection won a major court battle. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit sided with the American Humanist Association (AHA), which claims the monument is a religious symbol that violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution by its location on government property and its maintenance with taxpayer money. The cross is maintained by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

On Friday, July 27 the Thomas More Law Center filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court to save the 40-foot tall cross which has stood at the intersection since 1925. A Hyattsville American Legion Post, with the support of several grieving mothers who lost sons in World War I, erected the cross to honor the memory of Prince George’s County’s 49 residents who died in combat. The monument was shaped like a cross similar to the grave markers used in European war cemeteries such as Flanders Field.

According to the center’s brief, According to TMLC’s brief, “we cannot change the stories of the dead to appease the all too easily offended living. Any harm respondents feel they incur due to seeing the shape of a cross when they happen to drive past the Bladensburg memorial, pales in comparison to the real and lasting harm that destroying such memorials will cause to this country as a whole, to veterans’ families, and to the memories of the men and women who are honored by them.”

The American Humanist Association has filed a brief in response to the Thomas More Center’s filing. “The Bladensburg Cross was rededicated by the commission in 1985 to honor all war veterans, but it does exactly the opposite” said Monica Miller, AHA’s lead counsel on the case. “This towering symbol of Christianity discriminates against patriotic non-Christians who died serving our country.”

Several Maryland state senators are also asking the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com

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