The Supreme Court’s ‘Peace Cross’ case demonstrates the fine art of pretending religious symbols aren’t religious

Source: The Washington Post


The Supreme Court Thursday ruled that a large cross erected as a memorial to the dead may continue to stand on public land in Maryland because it has many secular purposes.

In other words, the real verdict on the “Peace Cross” case is: Be careful what you wish for.

This was a Pyrrhic victory, because the case follows a long, sad tradition in church-state cases: pretending that religious symbols aren’t primarily religious to keep them from being bounced by the court.

The court’s 7-to-2 ruling reversed a lower court that said the cross was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote that while “the cross is undoubtedly a Christian symbol,” it also had many powerful secular purposes, including “historical landmark” and a “place for the community to gather and honor all veterans.”

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