For Immediate Release
Merrill Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 105, firstname.lastname@example.org
Monica Miller, 202-238-9088 ext. 120, email@example.com
(Washington, DC, April 19, 2016)—The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center continued its appeal to defend the rights of non-Christians by asserting that the Bladensburg cross monument favors Christianity.
In a reply brief filed yesterday with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in response to the American Legion and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the humanist legal center stated that the Bladensburg Cross unconstitutionally promotes Christianity to the exclusion of humanists and other non-Christian veterans and citizens. Contrary to the government’s claims, the Appignani Humanist Legal Center argued that the government’s display and maintenance of an enormous Christian symbol on public property has the effect of endorsing religion and violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
“The American Legion and Commission fail to demonstrate that the Bladensburg cross is not a religious war memorial,” explained Monica Miller, senior counsel for the Appignani Humanist Legal Center. “Instead, this gigantic Christian symbol favors Christian veterans to the exclusion all others.”
“All veterans, regardless of their beliefs, deserve equal recognition and respect,” said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The Bladensburg cross alienates non-Christian veterans and sends the message that they are somehow less worthy of honor.”
The American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center requests that the Fourth Circuit reverse the lower court’s decision concerning the Bladensburg Cross and to enter a judgement in favor of the plaintiffs, American Humanist Association and three local residents.
Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Humanist Association (AHA) works to protect the rights of humanists, atheists, and other nontheistic Americans. The AHA advances the ethical and life-affirming philosophy of humanism, which—without beliefs in any gods or other supernatural forces—encourages individuals to live informed and meaningful lives that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
Special thanks to the Louis J. Appignani Foundation for their support of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.