A 40-foot World War I memorial shaped like a giant cross has been displayed in Bladensburg, Maryland, since 1925, and will continue to do so, according to a recent ruling by a judge (video below).
The “Peace Cross” sits on government property and is tended to by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which lights it up every night, the Friendly Atheist notes.
This spurred the American Humanist Association to request that the commission remove the cross in 2012. When the commission refused, the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center filed a lawsuit on Feb. 25, 2014, according to a press release from the organization at that time.
"To any passerby, a huge cross such as this can only be understood as endorsing Christianity," David Niose, Appignani Humanist Legal Cener Director, stated in the press release. "On public property, that violates the Establishment Clause. We can all support memorials to those who have fought for our country, but they cannot take the form of a massive religious symbol on government property.”
There were several grassroots movements to save the cross, including a documentary produced by Renee L. Green of Talent Key Media (video below), an online petition posted on Change.org, and a rally by American Legion Riders in 2014.
"It's a Peace Cross," Bradford Lee, one of the American Legion Riders, told the American Legion. "It's a symbol for World War I veterans of P.G. County. It was not put there as a religious symbol. It's a cross – get over it."
The judge in the case pretty much agreed and ruled on Nov. 30 that the cross didn't have any religious words on it, had a secular commemorative purpose, and was not an attempt to push any particular religious belief on the public, but simply honored fallen American soldiers, reports the Friendly Atheist.