In a 7-2 decision, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of 40-foot memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland. Known as the Bladensburg Peace Cross, this monument was erected in 1925 to honor 49 local men who died in WWI. Funds for this tribute were raised by the families, local businesses and the American Legion.
The American Humanist Association sued the American Legion and local parks department to take down the cross, challenging that it violated the Constitution’s so-called Establishment Clause which prohibits the government from establishing an official religion and from favoring one religion over another. The 1972 case Lemon v. Kurtzman set the precedent known today as the Lemon test, a standard that has proven to be difficult to apply and has led to many contradictory rulings.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagen, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas ruled that it is permissible for a monument in the shape of a Christian cross to be on public land. However, the justices still seem to be divided as to how or whether other types of religious displays and symbols on government property should be allowed.
This “Peace Cross” case gave the Supreme Court an opportunity to clarify the court’s interpretation of the Establishment Clause and the boundaries of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state.
Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented “Today the Supreme Court made a common sense ruling that the ‘Peace Cross’ war memorial does not violate the First Amendment Establishment Clause. Today’s ruling is an encouraging example of the Court returning to the Constitution and abandoning these unworkable manmade tests.”
Paul tells us in Philippians 3:18 that many people will be offended by Christianity and will demonstrate their animosity by their actions. This verse come to mind when we hear of people who are offended by any mention of Christianity or even the sight of Christian symbols such as the cross. We must continue to pray for these people. And, we must also pray for the U.S. Supreme Court as they face the task of making decisions that allow us to continue to have religious freedom.