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Supreme Court Approves Publicly Funded Christian Favoritism

For Immediate Release


Sarah Henry, (202) 238-9088 ext. 105,

(Washington D.C., June 20, 2019) – The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed the earlier U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decision in the ongoing Bladensburg cross litigation. The court will allow the Bladensburg cross to stand, but will not upset the overarching national precedent forbidding government-sponsored religious symbols.

“After our earlier victory, our opponents took this case to the post-Kennedy Supreme Court hoping for a complete upheaval of the separation of church and state,” explained Monica Miller, senior counsel at the American Humanist Association (AHA). “Fortunately, the Lemon test and decades of precedent have not been overruled.”

The 7-2 decision allows the 40-foot-tall Latin cross to stand at the entrance to the Town of Bladensburg, Maryland. The court excuses the monument from the Establishment Clause of the Constitution due to its longevity and its connection to World War I as a determining factor.

“In the face of today’s decision, we must all pursue new avenues to bolster the First Amendment,” noted AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt. “Our legislative efforts will be redoubled as the American Humanist Association works to strengthen the wall of separation between church and state, brick by brick. And in the interim, our legal team will do what it can to narrow the breadth of this decision in courtrooms across the country.”

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Alito, fails to honor the sacrifice of Jewish soldiers that went intentionally unrecognized. As one amicus party noted, “The history of the Bladensburg cross clearly shows that the memorial was intended only for Christian servicemen, and conspicuously excluded Jewish servicemen, many of whom served alongside those who were included among the forty-nine men listed on the cross.”

See today’s decision here.

Learn more about this case and the American Humanist Association’s 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.

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