By Greta Kreuz September 5, 2012 – 03:56 pm
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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