“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” So begins the First Amendment to our Constitution. Those words have been turned into a “law” that allows courts to demand an impenetrable wall of separation between religion and government. A recent case shows how amazingly far they will go to ensure that.
In 1925, a group of citizens in Bladensburg, Maryland wanted to honor 49 men from Prince George’s County who had lost their lives during the First World War. The local chapter of the American Legion and families funded a memorial usually called the “Peace Cross” at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Maryland route 450. It stands 40 feet high. A plaque at its base reads, “valor, endurance, courage, devotion” and the names of the fallen are also engraved.
In 1961, the land on which the Peace Cross sits was taken over by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which pays for the upkeep of the monument and grounds. No one had much cared about that until the American Humanist Association (AHA) filed a lawsuit in 2014.