The Washington Times/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case challenging the constitutionality of a World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland. In American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the Supreme Court will weigh in on whether a state’s maintenance of a 93-year-old World War I memorial that includes a 40-foot cross—known as the Peace Cross—is an “establishment of religion” in violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Emilie Kao, director of Heritage’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, attended the oral argument. Defending the constitutionality of the Peace Cross, Kao said: “The Founders recognized that we are not a country of irreligious people. Nor are we a people who follow one religion. We are a people who follow many religions. And while the Establishment Clause prevents the government from elevating one religion above all others through coercion or exclusion, that’s not what the Peace Cross in Bladensburg does.”

Heritage legal fellow Elizabeth Slattery also attended the oral argument. According to Slattery, “It’s important to keep in mind that the Constitution does not mandate a ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ as Thomas Jefferson once wrote in a private letter. Using the symbol of the cross to honor those who gave their lives defending our nation and our freedom is consistent with the Constitution, and the Supreme Court should uphold this longstanding tradition.” You can read her key takeaways from the oral argument here and listen to her breakdown of the argument on the latest episode of Heritage’s SCOTUS101 podcast.

On Thursday, Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., spoke at Heritage about how this case is an opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify Establishment Clause jurisprudence. You can watch that event here.

Do you think that religious liberty is prevailing over liberal attacks, or are secular liberals winning their war on religion?

Comments (35)

Rev.Hal wakefield - March 1, 2019

I believe that Religious Liberty continues to be undermined to the point that foreign countries now look to us as a heathen nation. Ethics,integrity, and civility among those who motivate the citizens of our country is pathetically week. Americans,have been taught a lot of facts but don’t know how to THINK !

James L. Hewlett - March 1, 2019

We should be able to express a symbol for those who sacrificed their lives for our country. Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and what better symbol for expressing their sacrifices.

Vicky Schauland - March 1, 2019

I certainly hope that liberty is prevailing.
It is a disgusting sign of our times that the memorials of our past are being demolished. These illustrate the history of our great country and evolvement of through the years, which should remain in the name of freedom and rights for all.

Pat - March 1, 2019

There will always be secular ‘peoples, atheists, etc who will fight for an end to the Christian relegion. We (US) should always have division between church and state. As a SDA Christian, prophecy taught me otherwise….

Mona - March 1, 2019

The leftists are very shrewd in attacking everything Christians hold dear–even to the point of promoting satanic figures next to a nativity scene. Someone needs to let them know Satan is the great deceiver and has duped them into believing they are noble when they attack Christianity.
We must be diligent- “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Don’t ever think for a moment we have prevailed over liberal attacks on religion. The moment we let down our guard, they will find another offense. We must be diligent in fighting the war on Christianity. Until Christ comes and claims His rightful throne, the attacks from liberals will continue.

Ernest Wilson - March 2, 2019

Secular liberals are winning this one and it’s causing grave damage to the country. The Supreme court refuses to see that religion benefits the country by providing a moral basis helping people know right from wrong. It’s hostility weakens us and has made us to defendant on man with his infinite ability to rationalize. I pray they will revert to the plain intent of the constitution to deny government control of religion . Atheism must show some tolerance for their fellow citizens.

philip fidel - March 2, 2019

It is time for Americans to put God back into our country. Those who don’t believe it is their problem. We should not let the tail wag the dog. The right to religion is guaranteed in the constitution.

Richard Dawson - March 2, 2019

I’m afraid we are loosing this battle. If the Supreme Court doesn’t put a stop to this now, we will soon see every cross in Arlington National Cemetery having to be removed.

ROY SHOULTS SR - March 2, 2019

The Left doesn’t think rationally, they basically emote, and therefore can be found merging together, like lemmings. The fact that Left is now in a conflict within itself simply means that there are now two groups of lemmings headed for two different cliffs.

Becky Campbell - March 2, 2019

We must never let our guard down for the left is powerful and relentless. We are in a fight for our religious and personal freedom.

Brian Lunde - March 2, 2019

I think people of faith, especially of Christian faith which is under grave assault in the United States, need a new strategy, and that is to rebrand secular humanism as a religion, which in fact it is. Then we begin filing lawsuits to remove every symbol of it in public life. The absurdity of this will lead to a truce and put and end to this nonsense.

Richard Lemke - March 2, 2019

I believe that conservative people of faith are reaffirming their right to practice their
Christian beliefs. The Obama-era attempt to make America Muslim will not succeed.
We are still a Judeo-Christian nation that
trusts in the God of the Bible.

Robert L Appleton - March 2, 2019

Some members of Congress seem to be applying a religious test to exclude Christians from positions which require congressional confirmation.
One party’s recent presidential candidate spoke of changing deeply held religious beliefs (apparently proposing to implement such changes through governmental action) and NO ONE in her party objected.
I believe that these and other similar actions by one party demonstrate a systematic hostility to some particular religions.

Mrs. Phyllis Eix - March 2, 2019

They are waging war on Christianity, and we need to stand strong for faith and freedom. The display of symbols that are meaningful to all and so numerous, is not offensive to the majority, and removing any more of them should not be allowed

Linda Rivard - March 2, 2019

If the newcomers to our country don’t like the way we live or worship our God, that’s between them & God. However, they do not have the right to try to tell us how to believe. They do not have the right to turn our country into what they came from. That cross, along with all the other monuments we have, mean so much to so many. They are part of our history. Take away our history & we’ll end up forgetting who we are & what we’ve worked for to make our country what it is.

Bruce - March 2, 2019

Religious Liberty is being attacked from all directions and if not for Heritage;s strong activity we will definitely continue to see it slip away

Sharon Kempfer - March 2, 2019

Religious liberty is definitely being attacked, especially for Christians. We are ostracized for our beliefs. These symbols represent the cost of freedom and our history and should not be allowed to be destroyed. I am thankful for an organization that fights to preserve the rights of all. This cross represents the lives that were lost so the very people wanting to destroy it could speak out.

George Schryer - March 2, 2019

I believe the “liberal” left has been co-opted by those opposed to any religion and our national heritage is under assault.

Martin Bare - March 2, 2019

Too many conservatives and Christians sit and read about things while actually doing nothing to help the issues. I think for that reason alone we ARE LOSING the fight with the loonie liberals!!

Wallace McCoy - March 2, 2019

It appears that results in many court cases indicate we are winning the legal battles.. However, too many, maybe even most, cases involving aclu intimidation and capitualtions by school boards and local governments do make it to the courts. These boards and governments apparently aren’t getting preemptive, pro-active support they need from conservative sources.

Thomas F Stark - March 2, 2019

I believe that, to date, we have been losing the battle, but this case presents an opportunity to reset the situation. I believe the test of whether a symbol or recognition of a particular religion should be blocked or prohibited is whether or not that action or lack of action has a coercive or enforcing impact on anyone. The simple existence of a religious symbol on public property that has no force or effect on anyone other than visual should not be sufficient to trigger a finding that it establishes that religion as favored by the state. The problem can be boiled down to one thing – crosses put the thought in the minds of humanists or atheists that they just might be wrong about their beliefs and that the consequences might just be unpleasant. It’s all in their minds. Establishing a religion (in the context of the 1st Amendment) must involve some direct force of influence or coerciveness to violate the law.

Tom Stark - March 2, 2019

I believe that, to date, we have been losing the battle, but this case presents an opportunity to reset the situation. I believe the test of whether a symbol or recognition of a particular religion should be blocked or prohibited is whether or not that action or lack of action has a coercive or enforcing impact on anyone. The simple existence of a religious symbol on public property that has no force or effect on anyone other than visual should not be sufficient to trigger a finding that it establishes that religion as favored by the state. The problem can be boiled down to one thing – crosses put the thought in the minds of humanists or atheists that they just might be wrong about their beliefs and that the consequences might just be unpleasant. It’s all in their minds. Establishing a religion (in the context of the 1st Amendment) must involve some direct force of influence to violate the law.

Dee - March 2, 2019

I am Sick & Tired of these tirades from the left. Statues have been in place for long times. Religious statues don’t insult anyone. the residents who are insulted should move. This country was founded on Christian Belief; We never were secular. This is what is wrong with our country now. No higher beliefs. No respect. Belief in the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule.

Sarah Milligan - March 2, 2019

I lived a big part of my life very near to this
Peace Cross and are sad and hurt that any one would even think of taking it down.
I heard that for now the Supreme Court says it can stand. I pray that this statue and others can remain. If the Cross offends certain people, and they win by having them removed, it will not stop there, the next will be the Crosses on our churches. I pray for God to have mercy on our country. It is sad to see these people who want to destroy our liberty and religion and way of life.

DON FOLLMER - March 2, 2019

The writers of our Constitution were mostly concerned about keeping the Government out of religion, not the reverse.

William Coates - March 2, 2019

The lefties have a lot of momentum, and I consider Roberts and Kavanaugh as being pretty flexible in some respects. We’ll have to keep fighting. The nation has fallen far and the freedom to live a religiously guided life is rapidly dwindling. Anti-Christianity has a lot of supporters.

ed mccarthy - March 2, 2019

I think the left is dead set on destroying religion in this country under the cry of civil rights. They don’t realize that Jesus came to abolish our sins and give us civil rights. The only way to keep them is to not take our religion away.

Dilford Campbell Carter - March 2, 2019

At the moment, it appears to me that secular liberals are winning most of the battles in their war on religion, especially Christian, but, fortunately, the war is not yet over.

Henry J. Vance - March 2, 2019

The liberal attacks on religion are only maintained by the leftist media reporting.

Roberta Ashmore - March 2, 2019

I don’t know how we defend ourselves against the insidious War that today’s Press is waging against our religions, family structure and our creative inner spirit. We must find a way to win this War.

C - March 3, 2019

The cross is seen across the land in national cemeteries and publicly owned lands where significant events occurred or are commemorated. The issue at hand is to create an avalanche of symbols that are erected, but not necessarily intended to be of religious in nature, removed. If such symbolism is offensive to those seeking to have it removed, suggest that they provide an appropriate symbol that can be presented to the American people through congress and approved as a national symbol for such matters. I doubt that this is their desire, though, and the real issue is to fight religious symbolism and freedom.

William Meyer - March 3, 2019

The Courts have reinterpreted the Constitution from “Freedom of Religion to Freedom from Religion”. We shouldn’t care what religion our neighbors practice or object to religious symbolism on display. If you don’t like it, ignore it.

JAMES LAVERNE JUSTICE - March 3, 2019

I do not want any clergy to be an employee of the state. I want religious freedom. What really bothers me is the “in your face” attitude of the left. SCOTUS decides in favor of the Colorado baker so the left sends in a transgender customer. The left believes in religious freedom just like the Nazi’s did. We must oppose the left just like Bonhoffer opposed the Nazi’s

Frank Roberts - March 4, 2019

Atheism is a form of religion because it espouses certain shared perception.
If atheism is upheld by the Supreme Court does that imply one religion over others?

Budimir Zvolanek - March 5, 2019

I am a conservative traditional Catholic and believe in only the One God and one universal Church. 100 years ago most Americans believed in God but over time, they fell pray to elevating themselves “rationally” above God. These people will suffer eternally for that unless they turn to Jesus Christ who said “What belongs to Cesar give to Cesar and what belongs to God give to God”, a clear separation of Church and State. Historic crosses were mounted on public land because the public believed in crosses. And in many instances finances for the cross were private donations, not public money – as it should be. That said, if public agrees to use public money, that’s fair. If people believe in a different symbol, they should put up a different symbol. Non-religious people have a choice – either ignore the religious symbol or join the religion, however, as He said, “Who will deny me, so will I deny him at the Last Judgement!”. In many ways, secularists have won, just look around at the “politically correct” speaking in the media, barring a few exceptions. But thanks to 2016 elections, people have spoken and secular tide is turning back to religious expressionism for Christmas, Easter, …

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