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Thread: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

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    Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    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.

    Next month, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in The American Legion v. American Humanist Association. The case involves the 40-foot-tall “Peace Cross” (a.k.a. the Bladensburg Cross), a World War I memorial in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

    While supporters of the cross say it’s a perfectly legal war memorial, the AHA argues that it’s really just a giant advertisement for Christianity — maintained using taxpayer dollars via the Maryland-National Capitol Park and Planning Commission — and any reasonable person looking at the cross would agree. If they lose the case, we may see an outpouring of Christian crosses erected on public property for ostensibly secular purposes… even though the real reason would be obvious to everyone.

    Reasons offered by the American Humanist Assn.
    1) The Bladensburg Cross violates the Establishment Clause.
    The cross is Christian. It’s the symbol everyone associates with Christianity. And if the government is promoting this cross/memorial, it’s aligning itself with a particular religion. That’s illegal.

    2) The Bladensburg Cross effectively denigrates the contributions of non-Christian veterans.
    If this really is meant to be a war memorial, then using a Christian symbol sends the message that non-Christians who sacrificed their lives for this country need not be memorialized. Supporters may argue the memorial represents all veterans, but the symbol they’re using is not some universal symbol of sacrifice. It’s a symbol of one particular religion. Obviously.

    3) A victory for the government would be bad news for Christians.
    If this cross is declared legal, think about what that would mean: The Supreme Court would basically be saying the cross is not a uniquely Christian symbol but rather some generic symbol representing death.

    4) The fact that this Cross has been up for decades doesn’t make it legal.
    History and tradition aren’t good reasons to let something illegal slide. The Supreme Court has even said as much when it comes to Establishment Clause cases. Hell, they struck down forced prayer in public schools even though we’d been doing that for a long time.

    5) The Cross isn’t merely some passive display.
    Supporters of the memorial argue that it doesn’t “force” you to become a Christian, so what’s the big deal? The AHA says that’s irrelevant. This is a giant cross in the middle of a busy intersection.

    6) Saying the Bladensburg Cross is illegal would not affect other Christian war memorials.
    Despite rumblings to the contrary, there are very few stand-alone giant cross memorials on public property. This one is uniquely illegal.

    7) The Lemon Test is a good way to analyze the legality of religious displays, and we don’t want to mess that up.
    The “Lemon Test” was established by the Supreme Court in 1971 as a way to objectively decide whether a religious statute violates the law.

    8) No one’s asking for the Bladensburg Cross to be destroyed.
    While one possible solution is to remove the “arms” of the cross and create a secular “obelisk” memorial, the AHA would be perfectly fine with it being moved to private property.
    All quotes from Here’s Why the Supreme Court Must Say the Bladensburg Cross Is Unconstitutional
    Last edited by Somerville; 02-02-19 at 12:10 PM.
    “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.”
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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    The left's continue effort to destroy the Christian religion.
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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    The cross was actually a pagan symbol long before certain Christian denominations adopted it, thanks to Constantine...

    A Christian Symbol?

    You may assume that Christians were the first to use the cross. The Encyclopedia Americana, however, speaks of “its ancient usage by both Hindus and Buddhists in India and China, and by the Persians, Assyrians, and Babylonians.” Similarly, Chambers’s Encyclopaedia, (1969 edition) says that the cross “was an emblem to which religious and mystical meanings were attached long before the Christian era.”

    Indeed, there is no evidence that early Christians used the cross in their worship. During the early days of Christianity, it was the pagan Romans who used the cross! Says The Companion Bible: “These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun-god . . . and are first seen on a coin of Julius Caesar, 100-44 B.C., and then on a coin struck by Caesar’s heir (Augustus), 20 B.C.” The Roman nature-god Bacchus was at times represented with a headband containing a number of crosses.

    How, then, did the cross become the symbol of Christendom?

    Constantine and the Cross

    In 312 C.E., Constantine, ruling the area now known as France and Britain, headed out to war against his brother-in-law, Maxentius, of Italy. En route he reportedly saw a vision​—a cross on which were the words “Hoc vince,” meaning, “By this conquer.” After his victory, Constantine made the cross the standard of his armies. When Christianity later became the state religion of the Roman Empire, the cross became the symbol of the church.

    But did such a vision actually take place? Accounts of this legend are, at best, secondhand and full of discrepancies. Frankly, it would be difficult to find a more unlikely candidate for a divine revelation than Constantine. At the time of this supposed event, he was an avid sun-god worshiper. Constantine even dedicated Sunday as the day for sun worship. His conduct after his so-called conversion also gave little evidence of real dedication to right principles. Murder, intrigue, and political ambition ruled his life. It seems that for Constantine, Christianity was little more than a political device to unite a fragmented empire.

    There is also little evidence that the type of cross Constantine “saw” really represented the instrument used to put Christ to death. Stamped on many coins Constantine subsequently had minted are X-shaped crosses with a “P” superimposed. (See illustration.) An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, by W. E. Vine, says: “As for the Chi, or X, which Constantine declared he had seen in a vision leading him to champion the Christian faith, that letter was the initial of the word ‘Christ’ [in the Greek language] and had nothing to do with ‘the Cross,’” that is, as an instrument of execution. In fact, this style of cross is nearly identical to the pagan symbol for the sun.

    Why, then, was the cross so easily accepted by “Christians”? Vine’s Dictionary continues: “By the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D. the churches had either departed from, or had travestied, certain doctrines of the Christian faith. In order to increase the prestige of the apostate ecclesiastical system pagans were received into the churches apart from regeneration by faith, and were permitted largely to retain their pagan signs and symbols. Hence the Tau or T, in its most frequent form, with the cross-piece lowered, was adopted to stand for the cross of Christ.”
    https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/...?q=cross&p=sen
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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    If Christmas (Christ's mass?) can be a declared a national holiday (holy day?) without that being considered establishment of religion then a local community can certainly erect and maintain a cross shaped war memorial. After all, the original cross was simply a secular device used to administer the death penalty - that it was also adopted by a group of religions does not invalidate (or patent?) that shape. If a religion was 'established' and chose to use the 5 pointed star as its official symbol would that require our nation (or the state of Texas?) to alter its flag?
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    Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ― George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    It's worth noting that the American Humanist Association supported the Satanist statue of the deity Baphomet on public grounds.

    Which is not to say that they support Satanists, but it is to say their objection to religious symbolism on public ground is selective and utilitarian.
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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    It's worth noting that the American Humanist Association supported the Satanist statue of the deity Baphomet on public grounds.

    Which is not to say that they support Satanists, but it is to say their objection to religious symbolism on public ground is selective and utilitarian.
    No, their position is all or nothing when it comes to religious symbols on public grounds. They supported the Baphomet statue because Christian symbols were allowed. If Christian symbols were not allowed they would not support the Baphomet statue. Even the Satanists only wanted the statue to prove a point. And a valid point, IMO.

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Today in 2019 and, more importantly, at the time of the making of this memorial the cross was, and is, definitely a Christian symbol. It isn't the kind of thing I lose sleep over, but I view the memorial as only paying respect to the Christians who died in WWI. It an exclusive memorial, not an inclusive one. As an atheist veteran I am not offended by it, but I wish they would just be honest about it. But then I guess if they were honest about it they would lose the court case.

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Skeptic Bob View Post
    No, their position is all or nothing when it comes to religious symbols on public grounds. They supported the Baphomet statue because Christian symbols were allowed. If Christian symbols were not allowed they would not support the Baphomet statue. Even the Satanists only wanted the statue to prove a point. And a valid point, IMO.
    No, they explicitly approved of the statue as part of an effort to get the Ten Commandments removed, not as part of an "all or nothing" argument.

    https://americanhumanist.org/press-r...rkansas-fight/
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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.
    ^^^ The right's pathological dishonesty in claiming the the left is trying to destroy the Christian religion.

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    Re: Is the Bladensburg Cross Unconstitutional?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanngrisnir View Post
    ^^^ The right's pathological dishonesty in claiming the the left is trying to destroy the Christian religion.
    Already know that we see things very differently.

    So then prove that the left isn't, in context with the many anti-Christian legal suits brought, anti-Christians media attacks, the near constant elbowing of the Christian religion off of the public square.
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