Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > Political correctness gone mad?

Political correctness gone mad?
Thread Tools
Paco500
Professional Poster
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Berkshire, UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 12:14 PM
 
Don't know how I feel about this.

Towering cross-shaped monument on public land is unconstitutional, court rules

On the one hand, I want to say ,'really? Who is this actually hurting?'

On the other hand, 45 ft. cross maintained by public funds, right outside the nation's capital. Maybe not ok.

I suppose if it were my choice, I'd see it transferred to a private charity for maintenance. If I lived anywhere near there anymore, I might even contribute to the upkeep.
     
BadKosh
Professional Poster
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Just west of DC.
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 12:17 PM
 
I've driven past it a few times! Perhaps the county or fed can SELL THE LAND to private individuals?
     
andi*pandi
Moderator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: inside 128, north of 90
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 12:23 PM
 
It's a memorial to 49 specific people. If they were all really of that religion, I can deal with it. It's also on a median. Perhaps a fund could be set up to collect to maintain it?

If it were a general memorial to all those who served though, then it can't possibly be representative for all.
     
The Final Dakar
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 12:26 PM
 
Not exactly the kind of monument I'd lose sleep over
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 01:11 PM
 
Religious points:
• It's hard to miss, 40' tall, much taller than the other monuments on the site.
• On public land. Maintained with public funds.
• Prominent location, lots of forced views as people drive by.

Non-religious points:
• 92 years old, part of the landscape. No prior challenges.
• War memorial to WW1 vets.
• No religious inscriptions on the monument.

But ...
• Not clear if it's a memorial to 49 local boys lost, or to WW1 losses in general. If to vets in general, it definitely doesn't represent all their religious views.
• There are no graves under or around it, so it's not a grave or tomb marker.

I can see why the court is divided - this isn't a simple call. I'm OK with however the case goes, as there isn't a clear right or wrong side.
( Last edited by reader50; Oct 19, 2017 at 03:21 PM. Reason: corrected height)
     
OAW
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 02:16 PM
 
I didn't actually get a chance to read the article because of the paywall so I don't know the specifics of this particular situation. But I will say that in general my view on this topic is that public grounds should either accommodate ALL religious symbols or NONE at all. It's called "Freedom of RELIGION" ... not "Freedom of CHRISTIANITY". But the reality is that there are a whole lot of people who will get their panties in a wad if they ever saw a "Star of David" or a "Star and Crescent" on permanent display on public grounds ... so I can certainly understand why our society has chosen the path of secularism in the public square as opposed to accommodating all religions.

OAW
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 02:29 PM
 
**** paywalls. I'd post the pic but Imgur's being a pain.

Originally Posted by Washington Post
A federal appeals court on Wednesday declared unconstitutional a towering cross-shaped monument that has marked a major intersection in Prince George’s County for 90 years.

In a 2-1 ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said the 40-foot-tall memorial maintained with thousands of dollars in public funds “has the primary effect of endorsing religion and excessively entangles the government in religion.”

The ruling by the three-judge panel does not mean the monument must be immediately removed from public land.

Supporters of the memorial, known as the Peace Cross, said the decision sets a “dangerous precedent” and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The question for the 4th Circuit was whether the cross — which stands at Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Route 1 in Bladensburg — is a memorial to local men lost in World War I or an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion that should be removed from public land.

Built in 1925 with funding from local families and The American Legion, the marble-and-cement cross honors 49 Prince George’s County men who died in the war. On the base are the words: valor, endurance, courage and devotion. A bronze tablet lists the names of the men and includes a quote from President Woodrow Wilson. The monument is part of a larger memorial park in the immediate area honoring veterans of several wars.

[Could moving a giant cross or cutting off its arms resolve 1st Amendment case?]

Even with the nonreligious elements, the court said Wednesday, “the sectarian elements easily overwhelm the secular ones,” making it an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment that prevents the government from favoring a particular religion.

“The cross is by far the most prominent monument in the area, conspicuously displayed at a busy intersection,” wrote Judge Stephanie D. Thacker, who was joined by Judge James A. Wynn, Jr. in the opinion Wednesday by the appeals court located in Richmond.

Chief Judge Roger L. Gregory dissented, writing the First Amendment does not require the government to “‘purge from the public sphere any reference to religion.’”

The ruling comes as public displays of religion have been challenged in courts throughout the country. The Supreme Court has not given clear guidance, allowing some monuments with religious content to stand while rejecting others on public sites.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, a state agency, owns the land and monument, and has spent about $117,000 to maintain and repair the cross, in addition to setting aside $100,000 for renovations.

Gregory wrote the majority “ignores certain elements of the memorial . . . and confuses maintenance of a highway median and monument in a state park with excessive religious entanglement.”

In his dissent, Gregory said it was significant that the monument had been public property for 50 years without a constitutional challenge.

Thacker disputed the importance of the lengthy period of time: “Perhaps the longer a violation persists, the greater the affront to those offended.”

In closing, Gregory quoted the words on the memorial honoring the veterans: “I cannot agree that a monument so conceived and dedicated and that bears such witness violates the letter or spirit of the very Constitution these heroes died to defend.”

[Read the full 4th Circuit opinion here]

Kelly Shackelford, president of First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit that helped The American Legion defend the cross, called the court’s decision an “outrageous ruling that sets a dangerous precedent and threatens the removal of memorials across the country.”

Shackelford said the religious-freedom organization would take the case to the Supreme Court. “We’re certainly not going to stop here,” he said. “If this is the law, everything else is in danger.”

In response to concerns about the impact on other memorials, the 4th Circuit opinion noted, for instance, the crosses at Arlington National Cemetery are smaller and displayed among religious symbols of many religions both on headstones and monuments. The ruling includes a photo of headstones from the cemetery.

The initial challenge in Maryland was brought by the American Humanist Association, a Washington-based group that represents atheists and others. The group did not dispute the monument is a memorial, but said in court that a giant cross on government property sends a message of exclusion in violation of the First Amendment.

A District Court judge in 2015 declined to order the cross removed from public land, saying it is a historically significant secular war memorial and that the government agency had a nonreligious reason for maintaining it.

[Judge: Forty-foot cross is not a government endorsement of religion]

Local Crime & Safety Alerts
Breaking news about public safety in and around D.C.
In response to the 4th Circuit ruling on Wednesday, the humanist association’s executive director, Roy Speckhardt said, “government war memorials should respect all veterans, not just those from one religious group.”

If the Supreme Court does not agree to take up the Prince George’s case, the ruling would stand and a District Court judge would have to decide whether to order the removal of the cross.

At oral argument last December, Thacker and Wynn suggested the legal issues could be resolved outside of court by moving the site of the cross — or by cutting off the arms of the cross to form an obelisk.

Park and Planning Commission officials remain convinced the memorial is legal and have not “engaged in any serious consideration” of the idea of transferring the land to a private organization, according to Adrian R. Gardner, the agency’s general counsel.

The commissioners, Gardner said in an email Wednesday, will determine “how best to advance the community’s interest in light of the ruling.”
     
OAW
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 02:53 PM
 
^^^^

Thanks! After reading the article my position remains the same. The decision seems to be congruent with most legal precedent.

OAW
     
Chongo
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 03:00 PM
 
The post article doesn’t mention it was private land from 1925 to 1961 when the state bought the land the memorial is on from the American Legion.
http://m.washingtontimes.com/news/20...nstitutional-/
     
subego
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, Bang! Bang!
Status: Online
Reply With Quote
Oct 19, 2017, 03:13 PM
 
Unless an explicit term of the sale was maintaining the monument, I'm not sure it matters.
     
Snow-i
Professional Poster
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Maryland
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 20, 2017, 05:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
I didn't actually get a chance to read the article because of the paywall so I don't know the specifics of this particular situation. But I will say that in general my view on this topic is that public grounds should either accommodate ALL religious symbols or NONE at all. It's called "Freedom of RELIGION" ... not "Freedom of CHRISTIANITY". But the reality is that there are a whole lot of people who will get their panties in a wad if they ever saw a "Star of David" or a "Star and Crescent" on permanent display on public grounds ... so I can certainly understand why our society has chosen the path of secularism in the public square as opposed to accommodating all religions.

OAW
Neither of which are "Freedom FROM Religion" or "Freedom FROM Christianity" either. That ideal is nowhere apart of the 1A, and runs counter to it's spirit. Public or private, there is no amendment that says you are entitled to be shielded from speech that doesn't represent your views or that you agree with.

I think the better solution is more monuments that represent more religions, not to censor government land. The 1A does not have a fairness clause either. I also don't mind having these monuments and whatnot being barred from public funding, but that should be across the board religious or not.
     
OAW
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: May 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 20, 2017, 05:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
Neither of which are "Freedom FROM Religion" or "Freedom FROM Christianity" either. That ideal is nowhere apart of the 1A, and runs counter to it's spirit. Public or private, there is no amendment that says you are entitled to be shielded from speech that doesn't represent your views or that you agree with.

I think the better solution is more monuments that represent more religions, not to censor government land. The 1A does not have a fairness clause either. I also don't mind having these monuments and whatnot being barred from public funding, but that should be across the board religious or not.
I think we are saying the same thing but coming at it from two different angles. All I'm saying is that if one holds the position that the 1A does not require "Freedom FROM Religion" that's fine ... but it's not just applicable to Christianity. And the latter part is what the Judge Roy Moore's of the world can't seem to accept. And therein lies the rub. Hence why the courts more often than not simply take the ball away entirely since the people don't want to share.

OAW
     
reader50
Administrator
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: California
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 20, 2017, 05:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
All I'm saying is that if one holds the position that the 1A does not require "Freedom FROM Religion" that's fine ... but it's not just applicable to Christianity. And the latter part is what the Judge Roy Moore's of the world can't seem to accept. And therein lies the rub.
I have to agree. Freedom of religion is great and all, so long as it doesn't extend to those infidels standing over there.

When I was growing up, my mom was the religious one. I liked my SciFi books and shows, and preferred to have my weekends free. Several times, I suggested visiting substantially different kinds of faiths. If we had to go to church, mix things up and shop around a bit. It never flew - this was about indoctrination in the one true path, not about education and informed choices.
     
The Final Dakar
Games Meister
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Eternity
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 20, 2017, 06:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Snow-i View Post
The 1A does not have a fairness clause either.
Sure there is: The Establishment Clause
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:19 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,