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Legal Features

The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief in Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Society

Denouncing a growing hostility to religion that has manifested itself in efforts to remove any references to God or religion from public places, The Rutherford Institute is asking the United States Supreme Court to prevent the removal of a 40-foot “Peace Cross” memorial from Veterans Memorial Park in Maryland that was erected 90 years ago to honor soldiers who were killed or wounded in World War I.

In response to a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association (AHA), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ordered the memorial removed on the grounds that the Peace Cross, modeled after a Latin cross, is a predominately Christian symbol and constitutes an endorsement of that faith. However, in asking the Supreme Court to overturn the appeals court’s ruling, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute point out that the memorial was not intended as an establishment of religion on public land as the AHA argues, but was instead intended as a secular tribute evoking the rows of wooden Latin Crosses that mark the graves of servicemen who died away from home, having fallen on battlefields such as Argonne and Flanders Field.

“This World War I memorial is merely the latest casualty in the misguided dispute over the so-called ‘separation of church and state,’ a controversy that has given rise to a disconcerting and unconstitutional attempt to sanitize public places of any reference to God or religion,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “This case is not about religion. Rather, it’s about intolerance, political correctness and a knee-jerk hostility to anything that might be construed as offensive to some small portion of the populace.”

August 03, 2018 • Denouncing Efforts to Remove 90-Year-Old WW I Memorial, Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Preserve Tribute to Fallen Soldiers