Thursday, December 03, 2015

Fed. Judge Favors D.C. Cross vs. Atheists, Muslims

The U.S. District Court in Maryland ruled this week against the American Humanist Association (AHA) atheists and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) who demanded that the 1925 40-foot Blandensburg Cross, a World War I Veterans Memorial near Washington, D.C., be removed because it is owned and maintained by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
“It is hereby declared by the ownership, maintenance and display of the monument by the commission do not violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
-- U.S. District Judge Deborah Chasanow
For background, read the myriad atheist lawsuits against the Christian cross across America.

Click headlines below to read previous articles:

Cross Removed from Wichita State Chapel: Muslim Conversion

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Court Orders Christian Cop to Mosque, Accept Koran

Satanists Join Muslims in Minnesota & California

-- From "Judge rejects bid to remove WWI 'Peace Cross'" posted at WUSA-TV9 (Washington, D.C.) 12/1/15

The American Humanist Association wanted it removed or altered on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment ban on the government establishing a religion.

The judge ruled that while the cross is undeniably a religious symbol, the monument does not endorse a religion.

The memorial is known as the Peace Cross and can be seen at the intersection of Route 450 and Route 1.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge: Forty-foot cross is not a government endorsement of religion" by Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post 12/1/15

In a 36-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow ruled unequivocally against the American Humanist Association’s bid to have the monument torn down or modified on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment ban on the government’s establishment of religion.

“The Monument and Veterans Memorial Park are secular war memorials that host numerous commemorative events,” Chasanow wrote. She added that the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s ownership and upkeep of the cross was “driven by a secular purpose, maintaining and displaying a ‘historically significant war memorial’ that has honored fallen soldiers for almost a century.”

In her ruling, Chasanow noted that the monument sits on a base that bears a plaque listing the names of 49 men from Prince George’s County who died in World War I and that the “vast majority” of events held at the site were observances of Memorial Day or Veterans Day. She also noted that after the case was filed, the National Park Service placed the monument on the National Register of Historic Places.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Court finds cross memorial constitutional" by Jonathan Pitts, The Baltimore Sun 11/30/15

The ruling was a victory for the co-defendants in the case, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the government entity that owns and controls the land on which the cross stands, and the American Legion, which erected it 90 years ago and continues to use the site for Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations.

It marked a setback for the American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that describes its mission as bringing about "a progressive society where being 'good without a god' is an accepted way of life" and strengthening secular influence in government.

"We're still reviewing and evaluating the decision and our options," she said, including the possibility of taking the case to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Roger Byron, senior counsel for the Liberty Institute, the Plano, Texas-based law firm representing the American Legion in the case, said he was encouraged by a ruling that "faithfully applies the law [and] helps assure both the courts and other government entities that might [want to] use religious texts or imagery that these are lawful under the First Amendment."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Bladensburg Cross Can Stay, Judge Rules" by Jacob Gershman, Wall Street Journal 12/2/15

The Bladensburg veterans memorial, erected in 1925 by the American Legion, is one of a number of memorial crosses under legal fire by civil-liberty groups who want them off government land.

To support its claim, the [atheist] group pointed to religious language in a fundraising pledge sheet circulated to donors who financed its construction nearly a century ago. “We, the citizens of Maryland, trusting in God, the supreme ruler of the universe, pledge faith in our brothers,” it said.

In a 36-page opinion handed down this week, U.S. District Judge Deborah K. Chasanow concluded that the religious associations didn’t amount to a constitutional violation:
The Monument’s secular commemorative purpose is reinforced by the plaque, the American Legion’s seal, and the words “valor,” “endurance,” “courage,” and “devotion” written on it. None of these features contains any religious reference. In short, the record amply demonstrates that the construction and maintenance of the Monument “was not an attempt to set the imprimatur of the state on a particular creed. Rather, those who erected the cross intended simply to honor our Nation’s fallen soldiers.”
To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "WWI Cross Upheld by Federal Court" by Joseph Williams, American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) 12/1/15

The lawsuit actually alleges that because the war memorial is located on what they claim is public property near a busy intersection that at least one of the plaintiffs passes “about once a month” driving around town or on his bike, it “associates a Christian religious symbol with the State and gives the impression that the State supports and approves of Christianity, as opposed to other religions, and that the state may even prefer Christians and Christianity over other religions.”  One of the plaintiffs actually says that he is “personally offended and feels excluded” because the cross honors our nation’s veterans.

In fact, the lawsuit states that he was “shocked when he first saw the cross and it upsets him whenever he passes it.”

Each of the plaintiffs complains of “unwelcome contact” with the WWI memorial cross and tell the court they “do[] not wish to encounter the Bladensburg Cross in the future.”  In other words, they want it torn down.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Judge torpedoes atheists' attack on veterans memorial" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 11/30/15

Noel Francisco, lead counsel for the American Legion and chair of Jones Day’s Government Regulation Practice, says, “We are grateful that the court ruled in our favor and upheld the memorial’s lawfulness under the First Amendment. This memorial has stood for almost 100 years in honor of the fallen and should be allowed to stand for 100 more.”

[The memorial] was challenged by the American Humanist Association, which was joined by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, as a violation since the site now is owned and maintained by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The ownership of the site had changed hands several times, and, the court found, it wasn’t even yet clear who owned it during certain times. But she said that didn’t matter.

The judge applied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lemon test to the situation . . .

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read D.C. Muslim Call to Prayer from National Cathedral

As Al Qaeda Proclaims War on the Christian CrossU.S. Schools Force Islamic Terror Singing and Posters, while President Obama Compares Christians to Islamic Terrorists