Op eds

There are certain things that deserve respect and appreciation, and a memorial dedicated to those who died fighting for our country is one of those things.  The Bladensburg peace cross in Prince County, Md., is a 100-year-old memorial that honors 49 local men who died in World War I.  Unfortunately, an unreasonable progressive organization is taking legal action to tear the cross down.

Members of this far-left organization believe the memorial is a violation of the First Amendment because it’s shaped like a cross and sits on public property.  They plan to argue their case to the Supreme Court.

To me, their argument is both ridiculous and offensive.  They are showing a blatant disrespect for men who fought and died defending our constitutional rights.

That’s why I joined a group of 109 members of Congress, including six of my Republican colleagues in the Louisiana delegation, in submitting a letter – called an amicus brief – to the Supreme Court.  This memorial is not an infringement of freedom of religion.  It is a symbolic monument to those who fought in World War I.   The First Amendment forbids the establishment of a national religion, but it also discourages hostility toward a particular religion.  Bulldozing memorials seems pretty hostile to me.

The cross is a memorial to men who died on the battlefield.  Its primary purpose is not religious, as the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland correctly held.  More broadly, the objections to the monument are a crusade to obliterate Christian beliefs from the public landscape.  What’s next?  Will we be asked to remove crosses from grave markers at veterans’ cemeteries?

If the Supreme Court allows this memorial to be removed, then we risk setting a precedent of destroying every memorial, monument, building or tombstone on public property that references religious or Christian beliefs, and that would be an absolute tragedy.  Memorials like Arlington’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the USS Pearl Harbor, the Lincoln Memorial and so many more reference God, Christianity, Stars of David or incorporate a cross.

I will not sit on the sidelines and allow this absurd precedent to be set.  I am more than proud to be a part of this brief that advises the Supreme Court to prevent the destruction of this memorial and this attack on religious freedom.  The Bladensburg peace cross has stood for nearly a century, and it should stand as a reminder of the sacrifices those young men made for centuries to come.