WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) – An appellate court has ordered the removal of a 40-foot cross in a suburb of Washington, D.C. that was erected nearly 100 years ago as a tribute to local soldiers killed in World War 1.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit brought by the American Humanist Association. AHA argues that because the cross is on public land and is maintained with public dollars, it’s a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause which bars the government from favoring a particular religion.
“If it’s replaced with a secular monument that truly represents all of the fallen, that would be my preferred solution,” said AHA Executive Director Roy Speckhardt.
The American Legion has asked the Supreme Court to take the case and a bipartisan group of more than 100 members of Congress has signed an amicus brief urging the court to prevent the cross from being removed.
“If [the cross] offends somebody, they need to look the other way,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA, one of the lawmakers who signed the brief. “It’s not a religious symbol. It’s a war memorial.”
Lawyers involved in the case expect the Supreme Court to decide whether to take the case sometime this fall.