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The Rutherford Institute’s amicus brief in Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Society

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a 40-foot “Peace Cross” memorial in Veterans Memorial Park in Maryland erected 90 years ago to honor soldiers who were killed or wounded in World War I must be removed as an unconstitutional religious display. In a lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association (AHA), the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals had ordered the memorial removed on the grounds that the Peace Cross, modeled after a Latin cross, is a predominately Christian symbol and constitutes an endorsement of that faith.

In an amicus curiae brief, The Rutherford Institute asked the Supreme Court to reverse the Fourth Circuit’s ruling, denouncing the growing hostility to religion that has manifested itself in efforts to remove any references to God or religion from public places. Institute attorneys point out that the memorial was not intended as an establishment of religion on public land as the AHA argues, but was instead intended as a secular tribute evoking the rows of wooden Latin Crosses that mark the graves of servicemen who died away from home, having fallen on battlefields such as Argonne and Flanders Field. Attorney Michael J. Lockerby of Foley & Lardner LLP assisted the Institute in presenting the arguments in defense of the World War I memorial.

“This World War I memorial is merely the latest casualty in the misguided dispute over the so-called ‘separation of church and state,’ a controversy that has given rise to a disconcerting and unconstitutional attempt to sanitize public places of any reference to God or religion,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “This case is not about religion. Rather, it’s about intolerance, political correctness and a knee-jerk hostility to anything that might be construed as offensive to some small portion of the populace.”


November 06, 2018 • Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case Over Removal of 90-Year-Old WWI Memorial: Rutherford Defends ‘Peace Cross’ Tribute to Fallen Soldiers


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