By Hemant Mehta
Late last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled 2-1 that a giant Christian cross in Prince George’s County, Maryland was unconstitutional.
The Christian groups representing the other side then asked the entire Fourth Circuit to reconsider the case. Today, the Court ruled 8-6 against rehearing the case, which means the earlier ruling stands.
It’s another loss for the Christian Right and another victory for church/state separation.
By way of background, this case involved a World War I memorial known as “Peace Cross.” It’s a 40-foot Christian symbol on public property, maintained by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, that’s been up since 1925. The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center began urging the local government to take it down in 2012.
When that didn’t happen, the AHA filed a lawsuit in 2014. The subsequent legal battle for the AHA involved a setback at the district level, pushback from conservatives, and an appeal that was opposed by 26 attorneys general from across the nation.
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