After a century, the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a towering monument to World War One located in the Washington, D.C. suburbs has seen better days.
Now, the dilapidated memorial is at the center of the latest Supreme Court fight. (Fox News)
The memorial’s supporters say the structure was erected solely to honor those who died during World War I – and, despite its shape, is secular in nature. Opponents call it an impermissible overlap of church and state, since the Latin cross design sits on public land.
“There is an unfairness of suggesting that a cross could represent all veterans when clearly not all veterans are Christians,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, which opposes the cross on public land.
Justices on Wednesday will hold 70 minutes of oral arguments and hear from both sides over an issue that has divided the courts and the public for decades. It presents another opportunity for consistent, clear markers to be created on when such “passive” religious displays and speech, if ever, can occur in the public arena.
Hundreds of similar cross-shaped war memorials across the country, as well as other religious displays, could be affected. Those include permanent Ten Commandments monuments and seasonal Nativity scenes in local parks.