Supreme Court: Cross Can Stand On Public Land In Separation Of Church And State Case (NPR)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a 40-foot World War I memorial cross can stay on public land at a Maryland intersection.

The cross "has become a prominent community landmark, and its removal or radical alteration at this date would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions," the court wrote. Justice Alito wrote the majority opinion for the court.

"And contrary to respondents' intimations, there is no evidence of discriminatory intent in the selection of the design of the memorial or the decision of a Maryland commission to maintain it. The Religion Clause of the Constitution aim to foster a society in which people of all beliefs can live together harmoniously, and the presence of the Bladensburg Cross on the land where it has stood for so many years is fully consistent with that aim."

The decision was 7-to-2, but had multiple parts and not all of the seven agreeing on every aspect. The decision reverses a lower-court ruling that said the memorial is unconstitutional because it is on public land and maintained at taxpayer expense. The high court's ruling is a major victory for religious groups and the American Legion, which warned that if this cross had to be moved, so too would other crosses that serve as war memorials.

Read the rest here.


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So ... welcome to the wonderful world of the Trump Supreme Court, where governmental support of Christianity is okay if something has been there long enough that it is supposedly "historical" rather than religious. For the umpti-umpth time, I want to know whether a Star of David or an Islamic crescent would have been as acceptable. As for its removal potentially being "hostile toward religion," what happened to "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion?"

The separation of State and Church just took one hell of a hit, and I am not at all sanguine about what may follow on from this decision.

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