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“As president of one of the veterans groups that supported the plaintiffs in the case seeking removal of the cross, I can attest that government-sponsored war memorials that utilize religious symbolism — particularly symbols of the majority religion, seemingly blind to the existence of other groups — are inherently divisive,” writes Jason Torpy at The Baltimore Sun.
“Government has no business bestowing honor and esteem upon one religious group to the exclusion of others. If a war memorial utilizes a Christian cross to deliver its message, then it belongs on a churchyard or other private property. And in a churchyard or other private property, such memorials are entirely appropriate.”
There are those who protest in the removal of the cross including First Liberty Institute, a law firm that seeks to protect religious freedom. “If this is the precedent, all (war memorials) are in jeopardy,” Kelly Shackelford, the president and CEO of First Liberty, told CNN. “The kind of sandblasting and bulldozing we’re talking about would be breathtaking to most Americans.”
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40-Foot Cross Taken Down From Military Memorial To Honor Atheist Veterans
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It has always been a tradition for the military to be given respect and honor, especially those who have been killed in action. And because they deserve it, honoring must be done sensitively and respectfully. Usually, memorials come with a cross to signify hope amidst the loss and the sacrifice that many have displayed. But in Bladensburg, Md, authorities have ordered to take down a 40-foot cross from a military memorial.
The reason for such removal is supposedly to honor atheists who served. A federal appeals court ruled that the huge cross in a memorial honoring soldiers who died in the World War I is unconstitutional, stating that it violates the separation between church and state.