Does the government’s display of a 40-foot-tall Latin cross in the center of a busy intersection in Bladensburg, Maryland violate the separation of church and state?
The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment strictly prohibits the government from preferring one faith over others. This case addresses whether the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission violates that core constitutional principle by displaying a giant Latin cross as a war memorial to represent all fallen veterans. The court of appeals concluded that the government's prominent display of the cross, the preeminent symbol of Christianity, sends a clear message of religious favoritism and marginalizes religious minorities who fought and died for their country. The ACLU believes that we should honor the sacrifices of all veterans under one flag, not one specific religious symbol. In its amicus brief, the ACLU urges the Supreme Court to uphold nearly 50 years of First Amendment law and affirm the constitutional promise of religious neutrality.