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Thread: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
    Ok, so on that site, the government is supporting a Christian symbol, put up by Christians, as a Christian recognition of the dead, and you don’t see how no other religions are represented or supported? I’m stumped



    Because I support rule of law and the Constitution and I am opposed to any religious group dominating the public sphere.



    There is no room for another structure. For s public area that allows multiple statues/memorials, then all groups should have equal opportunity, with the exception of obscene images/language or those that are otherwise disrespectful.

    There are 70 VA approved symbols, not 68 (I miscounted). One is explicitly atheist . The infinity sign and a Humanist symbol are also available.


    [wuote]But at the intersection of the cross you will find what could be considered an islamic 5 point star.
    No, it couldn’t. It may resemble an Islamic star, but no one could possibly think that’s what it was meant to be.[/QUOTE]

    1. It's a Christian symbol because it was paid for by Christians.

    2. At most you could say our government is supporting the right to have religious views, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, etc., etc., etc. It does not impose any religious views upon observers.

    3. Nothing in our Constitution is violated by any religious symbol.

    4. At most our Constitution disallows government from imposing any one religion on the population as a whole.

    5. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"
    As a result, no law has been made, but you seem intent on government to prohibit the free exercise thereof which IMO, WOULD be in violation of the 1st Amendment as the existence of the Cross imposes NOTHING religious upon the lives of viewers.

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?





    Key Religious Symbols




    What is and isn't Constitutional is existential. What Peace Cross' builders were thinking is of no matter, for I can assure you that neither they nor the MD authorities who permitted the cross' erection were thinking "let's put up this cross even though we know its unconstitutional." They were surely thinking they wanted to memorialize WWI vets and chose the cross the symbol with which they wanted to do so. I'm sure they had good intentions, but goodness of their intentions doesn't affect whether the state's adoption/erection of the symbol violates the Establishment clause.

    As for the church and state aspect:



    Symbology Considerations:
    In preponderantly non-Christian cultures, a cross is just a cross, but the U.S. is culturally mostly Christian and, the "and" being pivotal, the U.S. has a proscription against commingling church, any church (faith) and state. The consequence of that proscription is that our cultural heterogeneity makes it difficult for state owned and operated facilities to display religious symbols. Were the U.S. a homogenous culture or were it not to have the separation requirement it has, the cross wouldn't violate the separation of church and state dictum. But we have that dictum; thus the cross and a host of other symbols violate it when displayed on state property.


    Contextual Considerations:
    Three kinds of religious displays on public property engender most Establishment Clause rancor.
    • Government-sponsored celebrations or acknowledgements of religious holidays (e.g.,Christmas or Hanukkah) with a public display of religious icons, symbols, or objects (e.g., a nativitycrèche or a menorah).
    • Celebration/acknowledgement, by installing plaques or monuments inscribed with religious symbols/passages, of religion’s influence on American political and legal history.
    • Objects or symbols (e.g. a cross) erected by private citizens or groups in public places known as public forums.

    The matter of Peace Cross involves the last category.

    "Public property" refers to the interior/exterior of property owned by governments, including public schools, city halls, courthouses, capitol buildings, parks, streets, sidewalks, town squares, plazas, etc. The SCOTUS has recognized some such places -- those that have been devoted, by long tradition of government fiat, to public assembly and debate -- as "public forums," whereat are keenly circumscribed limits on expressive activity. Re: public forums, courts demur to deem a religious displays as establishments or endorsement of religion.

    Accordingly, one must ask whether the Peace Cross space constitutes a public forum. Yes, one can gather a small group there, as one can anywhere, but it's truly nothing more than a traffic circle.




    The DC area has many traffic circles and public squares, and most of them are indeed public forums. Dupont Circle is a public forum space, as is Lafayette Square; however, the Peace Cross roundabout is clearly not designed or maintained as such a place.

    Ward Circle, DC -- It's just not a place people go to "hang out" and discuss anything. If, say, a pro or anti American University demonstration were organized and the streets closed, sure, folks would gather there and on the adjacent land, but otherwise Ward Circle isn't a gathering place.





    Dupont Circle, DC -- There're always people gathered in Dupont Circle. Folks stand there with signs protesting/advocating "this or that." They gather to discuss the times. They meet there to people watch. And Dupont Circle is designed and maintained to be exactly that sort of place.


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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    I'm a Devout Agnostic and I say keep it. Leave it be. Why? The irony is just too delicious to pass up. It's called the "Peace Cross" and it stands over a war memorial. For centuries Christian armies have marched behind a Cross to go and slaughter their fellow men, with the clergy giving their blessings and prayers that they rack up a nice body count. So, yes, a Cross is the most apropos symbol for a war memorial.

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bezukhov View Post
    I'm a Devout Agnostic and I say keep it. Leave it be. Why? The irony is just too delicious to pass up. It's called the "Peace Cross" and it stands over a war memorial. For centuries Christian armies have marched behind a Cross to go and slaughter their fellow men, with the clergy giving their blessings and prayers that they rack up a nice body count. So, yes, a Cross is the most apropos symbol for a war memorial.
    Well said...you've hit the proverbial nail on the head...
    "However, the inspired word clearly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired statements and teachings of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of men who speak lies," 1 Timothy 4:1,2

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Somerville View Post
    Is a cross a purely Christian symbol when it is used as a fallen veteran memorial? The SCOTUS will be making a decision on this matter in the next couple weeks.



    Reasons offered by the American Humanist Assn.


    All quotes from Here’s Why the Supreme Court Must Say the Bladensburg Cross Is Unconstitutional
    hopefully with Judge Kavanaugh on the court we can begin acknowledging our Christian heritage again and get rid of this perversion of the establishment clause, that was meantly only to restrict congress from making a national church, to prohibit religious symbols.
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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by EMNofSeattle View Post
    hopefully with Judge Kavanaugh on the court we can begin acknowledging our Christian heritage again and get rid of this perversion of the establishment clause, that was meantly only to restrict congress from making a national church, to prohibit religious symbols.
    The value of your words is greatly diminished by your chosen avatar.

    Please provide words from those who created the Constitution which would support your (or Kavanaugh's) views on "Christian heritage".
    “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
    ~ James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by eohrnberger View Post
    The left's continue effort to destroy the Christian religion.
    Oh Ye of little faith....

    If you think this in ANY way destroys the Christian Faith then it would have been wiped out in Roman arenas by a few lions...

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    More on the subject from Scotusblog.

    Argument analysis: Peace cross appears safe, if not stable, SCOTUSblog (Feb. 27, 2019

    Today the justices heard oral argument in the dispute, and it seemed likely that the cross will survive the challenge, even if the court’s ruling proves to be a relatively narrow one that allows the peace cross and other historical monuments to stand while making clear that new religious symbols may not pass muster in the future.
    (. . .)
    To determine whether the cross violates the establishment clause, the court of appeals applied a test from the Supreme Court’s 1971 decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, which focuses on whether a law or practice has a secular purpose, whether its principal effect advances religion, and whether the law or practice creates an “excessive entanglement with religion.” In this case, the court of appeals reasoned, the average person would think that the cross is intended to endorse religion because the cross dominates the other war memorials in the vicinity and has long represented Christianity.
    (. . .)
    Arguing on behalf of the American Legion, lawyer Michael Carvin offered a more sweeping test, under which virtually all religious symbols would generally be constitutional except, he explained, “in the rare circumstances where they’ve been misused to proselytize.”

    Carvin’s proposed standard met with skepticism not only from the court’s more liberal justices but also, significantly, from some of its more conservative members.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch was one of those skeptics. If we “abandon Lemon’s endorsement test because it’s become a dog’s breakfast,” Gorsuch queried, what’s the difference between proselytizing and endorsement?

    Chief Justice John Roberts was also skeptical, although for a slightly different reason. He noted that what Carvin had initially advertised as a “pretty concise test” “degenerates pretty quickly into” “kind of a fact-specific test” – which, Roberts seemed to suggest, the court would want to avoid.
    (. . .)
    In light of the historical context of this case, Breyer asked Miller (attorney for the plaintiffs), what do you think of saying “yes, ok, but no more?” “We’re a different country now, and there are 50 more different religions” than there were when the cross was erected nearly a century ago. Miller was unenthusiastic, but Kagan was more receptive to Breyer’s idea. “There’s something quite different about this historic moment in time,” Kagan agreed.
    “And I have no doubt that every new example will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Govt will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.”
    ~ James Madison, letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bezukhov View Post
    . For centuries Christian armies have marched behind a Cross to go and slaughter their fellow men
    does the silly liberal think they should have surrendered to Muslim and Nazis? Isn't thinking fun??

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Somerville View Post
    The value of your words is greatly diminished by your chosen avatar.

    Please provide words from those who created the Constitution which would support your (or Kavanaugh's) views on "Christian heritage".
    ????We are obviously products of the Christian Enlightenment. THe idea of liberty and morality as we know it today came from Christ.

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