On a three way intersection in Bladensburg, MD, just outside of Washington, DC, a 40 foot cross adorns a small patch of land between the roads. It's the Peace Cross, a memorial to the town's soldiers killed in WWI. Built of concrete and granite, all of the materials are local, dug from the soil, or mined from the rocks of the region. It has stood on the spot since 1925, becoming in that time a historic site, and a beloved monument to locals and visitors alike.
But a few folks don't love the Peace Cross at all. The American Humanist Association, an atheist advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in 2014 to have the cross removed because it was, of course, a cross.
In recent years, there has been an ongoing war against symbols of history and faith. Whether it be Confederate statues, memorial crosses, or even a likeness of Ghandi, the Left has been working hard to remove any history they find offensive, and they seem to find all of it offensive. Their argument is that statues of slave holders promote racism (as does Ghandi, so the SJW crowd claims) and that memorial crosses like the Peace Cross promote Christianity. Since the Peace Cross is on publically owned land, they say, it violates the principle of the "separation of church and state".
I say 'principle', because it is actually a common SJW misconception that there the Constitution demands a "separation" of church and state, and thus no symbols of faith can be displayed on public land. In reality, this is a misreading of the Bill of Rights. The 1st amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" which is often confused to mean that government can not display any religious symbols. It actually refers to prohibiting the Congress from making a religion the law of the land, or choosing (or establishing) a religion to be the official faith of the nation. It was in contrast to the British and their collusion with the "Church of England", the Catholic church.
What the SJWs seem to forget is the very next line in the 1st amendment, which states "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". It is this clause that is most important to understanding what government can and can't do, especially in regard to cases like the Peace Cross. The Left argues that putting a cross on government land is "establishing a religion", yet they forget that public land is actually the land OF THE PEOPLE, our land, and in fact Congress is prohibited explicitly from prohibiting our free exercise of faith on OUR land.
It's not surprising the Left makes this mistake. Their statist ideology of collectivism is a system actually based on ceding all individual liberty to the collective, or the state. It does not compute to them that the land could actually belong to the people individually all at once. All resources are the property of the collective, and thus the agreed upon opinion of the collective is paramount in using these resources. In order to make a collective work, a single line of thought must be established as the rule, lest individual differences start to decay the unity of the collective.
In our system of rule by the people, there is no single line of thought that must be agreed upon. People are naturally allowed to disagree, have different beliefs, ideas and goals. Our Constitution is the system applied to sharing our mutual self governance, through voluntary cooperation, despite those disagreements. Unlike collectivism, under our Constitution every opinion including the unpopular ones are allowed to peacefully coexist. Thus for most of America's years, using symbols commonly associated with the majority Christian faith to memorialize our history was rightly protected by our courts. Both the majority and minority opinion are protected under Constitutionalism.
However, in recent years, the unfortunate re-emergence of collectivist ideology in our culture and academic circles has put these monuments under attack. Collectivists believe in protecting only the view they all agree with, and all other views are to be forcibly rejected to protect the collective unity. As their ideology is a small minority of the population, they are currently focused on protecting ONLY their minority opinion. Thus the SJW crowd seeks out groups that are a minority of the population, like atheists, because by forcing these minority opinions on all Americans, they actually install the power of collectivism into our system of governance. If government protects only the minority opinion, it in effect becomes a collectivist government.
So the Left falsely claims that the Constitution prohibits religious symbols on public land, rejecting the intent of the Constitution to protect all opinions, not merely the minority one. And in doing so, they bend the Constitution to their collective idea of a singular hive mind, and away from the core of individual liberty we were founded on.
The Peace Cross, sitting on city owned land, is the perfect target for their ploy. It wasn't always on public land, for much of it's existance it sat on land owned by the American Legion. When the roads were updated, the land was purchased by the city of Bladensburg, opening up the Peace Cross to this typical Leftist attack.
Just this spring a Federal Appeals Court ruled the cross unconstitutional, and ordered that it must be removed. The long protracted battle for the Peace Cross looks like it will end up in the Supreme Court this fall. Governor Hogan of Maryland, (R), has called the court's ruling "an affront to all veterans" and has directed his state's Attorney General to defend the monument. The state of MD has actually been waiting to do nearly $100,000 in refurbishments to the Cross, but has had to hold off on needed repairs and maintenance due to the ongoing suit.
When I spoke with the American Legion, the defendant in the case, I asked how we citizens can help protect the Peace Cross. I was saddened to hear that previous rallies in support of the Cross had resulted in even more Leftist hate towards the Cross, with the main stream media smearing the defenders of the Peace Cross and the American Legion for defending it. Crowds gathered to support the cross were outnumbered by the bussed in Leftist crowds who came to counter protest. It has left the American Legion understandably disheartened about holding future rallies, and the prevailing legal wisdom is to keep a low profile going into the Supreme Court case to prevent further Leftist control of the MSM narrative and thus public opinion.
There are still things you can do to help save the Peace Cross. First, you can contact Governor Larry Hogan of MD, and encourage him to stand firm in his defense of the Cross. Secondly, you can visit www.SaveThePeaceCross.com and donate, view a documentary about the Peace Cross, and get further history and information about it.
Third, and perhaps most important, you can get out and vote for Constitutional values. You can oppose the Left, and it's collectivist agenda, most effectively by voting against the Democrats who stand with the Leftists and their unconstitutional, Un-American values. The values of individual liberty are under attack, and we must stand and defend them.
The Peace Cross has stood as a historical memorial to those who died protecting freedom from German aggression and statism. It would be a shame to let the same ideology of statism tear it down, as if we had never won WWI, and liberty had not been defended from tyranny.
It would be as if there were never peace at all, nor ever will be. Peace, history and our precious Constitution will be torn down right along with the concrete and granite of the Peace Cross that has stood for nearly 100 years. I, for one, do not intend to let that happen. I hope you will join me in defending the Peace Cross, and all the freedom it stands for.