Bladensburg Peace Cross should come down, atheist group argues
The town of Bladensburg is renowned as one of the most important battle sites of the War of 1812. Two centuries later, a memorial that pays tribute to those who fought and died in another major conflict is causing a battle of its own.
In 1922, the American Legion installed a landmark known as the Peace Cross. A year later, the memorial was dedicated to county residents who fought and died in World War I. It can't be missed; the 40-foot tall cross stands where Route 1 and Bladensburg Road converge near the mouth of the Anacostia River.
However, the American Humanist Association, a national organization that promotes a philosophy of values and equality for humanists, atheists and agnostics, wants the cross taken down. They say that having a religious symbol on land owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission violates the separation of church and state.
"It's on government property and that sends a message that Christianity is preferred by the government," Bill Burgess, the legal counsel for the American Humanist Association, said. "I'd like them to agree to just take it down."
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