top of page

Rhode Island AG Withdraws from Bladensburg Case after Pressure from Humanists of Rhode Island

For Immediate Release


Sarah Henry, (202) 238-9088,

(Washington D.C., February 15, 2019) – After pressure from humanist and other secular and religious groups, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha has withdrawn the state’s support for the Christian cross currently towering over Bladensburg, MD.

Steve Ahlquist, founding member and past President of the Humanists of Rhode Island, says, “When Roger Williams founded our state, he had the foresight to write into our charter the twin concepts of freedom of conscience and church/state separation. These ideas were later fully embraced by the founders of this country and written into the United States Constitution. This is Rhode Island’s proud legacy. While the Humanists of Rhode Island fully honor and respect the veterans who have fought and died for our country, and we have veterans as members, we are also aware that our veterans held a wide variety of faiths and non-faiths, and no one religious symbol can truly represent all of them.”

The Humanists of Rhode Island partnered with the Rhode Island State Council of Churches; Rhode Island Board of Rabbis; American Baptist Churches of Rhode Island; New England Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island; Masjid Al-Islam; Vedanta Society of Providence; National Council of Jewish Women, Rhode Island Action Team; and Rhode Island Conference, United Church of Christ to bring about this outcome.

“As we prepare for the upcoming oral arguments before the Supreme Court of the United States, it’s heartening to see local and statewide leaders recognize the value of an inclusive memorial for all veterans,” says Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the America Humanist Association.

Learn more about the AHA’s involvement in this case and our efforts to #HonorThemAll here.


The American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming worldview of humanism, which—without beliefs in gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation and the Herb Block Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

bottom of page