In a 7-2 vote, the US Supreme Court ruled in favour of preserving a historic cross-shaped memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland saying the cross did not endorse religion.
The 20th June ruling reversed a lower court decision last year.
‘Although the cross has long been a preeminent Christian symbol, its use in the Bladensburg memorial has a special significance,’ said the court’s ruling in an opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito. He said the memorial, paying tribute to soldiers who died in World War I, should be seen in the same ‘historical context’ as the white crosses marking the overseas graves of soldiers who had lost their lives in that war.
He also said removing the memorial ‘would be seen by many not as a neutral act but as the manifestation of a hostility toward religion that has no place in our Establishment Clause traditions’.
Alito noted that for nearly a century, the 40-foot cross ‘has expressed the community’s grief at the loss of the young men who perished, its thanks for their sacrifice, and its dedication to the ideals for which they fought. It has become a prominent community landmark’.
Several justices wrote separate opinions in this case, dissented by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor.
Picture: A cross-shaped World War I memorial, a landmark in Bladensburg, Md., is pictured on 26th February 2019. In a 7-2 vote, the US Supreme Court ruled on 20th June in favour of preserving a historic cross-shaped memorial, saying the cross did not endorse religion. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn).