Lawsuit Demands Removal of Giant Cross

By February 26, 2014



A major federal lawsuit was filed Tuesday, demanding removal of a giant 40-foot Christian cross. The cross is situated on government property in a Washington, DC, suburb. Specifically, it is situated on a roadway median in Bladensburg, Maryland. The suit was filed on behalf of three plaintiffs by the American Humanist Association.

Acting on behalf of the group, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center said that the massive structure violates the separation of church and state principle of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In a letter the Legal Center sent to the commission in 2012, they explained that, “To any passerby, a huge cross such as this can only be understood as endorsing Christianity.”

Appignani Humanist Legal Center Legal Director David Niose writes, “On public property, that violates the Establishment Clause. We can all support memorials to those who have fought for our country, but they cannot take the form of a massive religious symbol on government property.” 

The cross has been lit at night since 1965, highlighting it to all passers by. It rests on a large rectangular platform and has a small plaque with the names of those who died in World War I, who resided in Prince George’s County, Maryland. 

The plaque, however, is often covered by bushes, making the focus the cross, rather than a memorial.

Those who donated to the erection of the cross signed a document stating, “We, the citizens of Maryland, trusting in God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe, pledge faith in our brothers who gave their all in the world war to make the world safe for democracy. Their mortal bodies have turned to dust, but their spirit lives to guide us through life in the way of godliness, justice and liberty. With our motto, ‘One God, One Country and one Flag,’ we contribute to this memorial cross commemorating the memory of those who have not died in vain.”

Thus, the complaint requests “an injunction enjoining the Defendant (and its successors) from displaying the Bladensburg Cross on public property or otherwise in violation of the Establishment Clause.”

What are your thoughts about this? Is this a monument to veterans, or is it a state endorsement of religion?


(Article by M.B. David)  Reprinted with permission from Political Blind Spot