(Washington, D.C., March 1, 2018) — Today, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed its ruling in favor of the American Humanist Association that the massive Christian cross on government property in Bladensburg, Maryland violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The Court denied the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s request for a rehearing of the case. The case was brought by the AHA and three of its members. Following oral arguments, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit ruled the cross unconstitutional in October 2017, and today, the majority of the active judges on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals voted to uphold that ruling and not rehear the case.
“This is a big win not only for separation of church and state, but for all non-Christian veterans who are excluded from an enormous Christian cross war memorial,” said Monica Miller, senior counsel from the AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “The court correctly upheld its previous ruling that the cross unconstitutionally endorses Christianity and favors Christian soldiers to exclusion of all others.”
“Government war memorials should respect all veterans, not just those from one religious group,” said Roy Speckhardt, AHA executive director. “Religious neutrality is important in a pluralistic society like ours.”