Utah joins constitutional fight to protect historic cross honoring WWI veterans

World War I memorial in Bladensburg, Maryland, May 24, 2009 | Photo by Ben Jacobson via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News
SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes joined a bipartisan group of states fighting to protect a historic cross honoring World War I veterans as part of a case with much broader implications for the First Amendment.

The 28-state coalition is urging the U.S. Supreme Court to consider and ultimately protect veterans memorials that include religious symbolism. The coalition’s friend of the court brief seeks to overturn a lower court’s ruling that a Maryland memorial violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits making any law “respecting the establishment of religion.”

“This case focuses on a war memorial in Maryland honoring 49 soldiers who gave their lives in WWI, but it is much bigger than that,” Reyes said in a statement released Monday. “This Supreme Court decision will impact all of us in the manner in which we remember our history and honor our dead.

“Utah understands that the U.S. Constitution should never force Americans to jettison faith, the First Amendment, or our sacred military history.”

The case involves a nearly century-old memorial cross in Bladensburg, Maryland, built by community members and mothers whose sons died in World War I, and the American Legion. The lawsuit brought by the American Humanist Association seeks to force the state to tear down and replace the historic cross.

If the Supreme Court were to review the case, its ruling could impact hundreds of memorials across the nation, including those at Arlington National Cemetery.

Utah joined the West Virginia’s brief with attorneys general from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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  • Jeannette August 9, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I wish all the states would join together to prevent the courts from destroying all of our history and culture through tearing down beautiful and historic statues everywhere. In essence, the pc thinking in this country is rewriting history and disregarding much of what our country went through. Instead, we should be using beautiful and meaningful artifacts as stand-alone messages that could teach the struggles we have had through our short time as a nation.

  • Red2Blue August 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm

    Take down all statues of Confederacy. Keep the crosses.

  • Striker4 August 10, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Leave it all up …it happened so deal with it

  • AnnieMated August 10, 2018 at 8:35 am

    “Humanist” organizations like this are despicable. This isn’t about religion. The cross is a religious symbol, yes, but in this country it’s also a symbol of, among other things, deep respect, honor, patriotism, and loyalty. The cross is a very appropriate symbol to honor the men and women who gave literally everything. Leave it alone.

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