Supreme Court to decide fate of cross-shaped WWI memorial in Maryland

first_imgdkfielding/iStock(WASHINGTON) — A 40-foot, 16-ton Latin cross on public land in Bladensburg, Maryland, is the next major legal test for the Constitutional separation of church and state.The Supreme Court will consider this week whether the memorial, erected in 1925 to honor 49 Americans who fought in World War I, improperly promotes Christianity at government expense.What the nine justices decide could have a sweeping impact on communities nationwide, where historic war memorials and government buildings bearing religious imagery are commonplace.“Is this ‘establishment of religion’ through entanglement? That is the operative question,” said JP Schnapper-Casteras, a constitutional lawyer and former Supreme Court advocate for the Legal Defense Fund.The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” but the exact meaning and intent of the phrase are still widely debated.The Maryland cross memorial, designed by the mothers of the 49 fallen soldiers, was first erected on private property using private funds. But in 1961, the Maryland Park Commission took possession of the land and memorial and have since used state money to maintain them.In 2014, three local residents, represented by the American Humanist Association, filed suit in federal court seeking to have the monument removed from public property or modified into a non-religious memorial.“The Latin cross is not embraced by non-Christians or used by them as a symbol of death or sacrifice,” the group writes in its brief to the Supreme Court. “Some faiths even view it as a symbol of their religious oppression.”“Plaintiffs have each regularly encountered the Cross as residents, and two of them cannot avoid the Cross in the course of their ordinary routines,” the brief continues.The Jewish War Veterans of America, in a supporting brief, argues that 11,000 Jews in Prince George’s County, Maryland, are subjected each day to overt government discrimination against patriotic soldiers who are not Christian.“What they see when they look at the County’s war memorial is a 40-foot high representation of the preeminent symbol of Christianity,” the group argues.A federal district court upheld the constitutionality of the cross, reasoning that it served a secular purpose not the promotion of religion. But the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed that decision, agreeing with critics that it unambiguously promotes Christianity and entangles government and religion.The American Legion and Maryland Planning Commission, which are defending the cross, say it serves a secular purpose — honoring war dead — and cannot be considered apart from a long history and tradition of Christian symbols in American life.“The Commission’s display and maintenance of the Peace Cross does not violate the Establishment Clause because it does not coerce belief in, observance of, or financial support for religion, and would survive any other test applied by this Court,” the American Legion wrote in court documents.Dozens of religious, law enforcement, military and civic organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs defending the cross.“To disable the government from the use of religious symbolism to acknowledge important aspects of our history is to ‘evince a hostility to religion’ that is inconsistent with the Establishment Clause,” argue a group of 84 members of Congress.“The Federal Government frequently uses crosses as symbols of courage, sacrifice and remembrance, or otherwise permits commemorative crosses to stand on federal land,” they said.Two prominent monuments at risk, according to the group, are the Argonne Cross, a 13-foot white marble Latin cross, and the Canadian Cross, a 24-tall granite cross, both on display in Arlington National Cemetery. Cross-shaped monuments also dot national cemeteries, battlefields, national parks and military installations nationwide.The Cross at Ground Zero — constructed in 2001 from steel beams recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center tower — is displayed at the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.“At least in the context of memorials, civic ceremonies, or similar practices that acknowledge or reflect the religious traditions of our people, this Court should look to this country’s history and traditions, rather than mechanically applying” judicial tests, the lawmakers told the court.The Maryland case offers the Supreme Court a chance to clarify what legal experts say has been an inconsistent and unhelpful legal standard enforced over the years.“The Supreme Court’s decisions concerning religious displays on public property are notoriously fact-intensive and difficult to reconcile,” said constitutional lawyer Haley Proctor, who filed an amicus brief on behalf of 84 members of Congress in the case.The court has previously approved public display of a menorah and Christmas tree in one city, but blocked erection of a nativity scene. On the same day in 2005, the court ruled that one state’s public display of the Ten Commandments was permissible while a similar display in a different state was not.“As Justice Thomas has said, under the court’s decisions, the constitutionality of displays of religious imagery on government property is anyone’s guess,” said Proctor.Now the justices have their first opportunity in more than a decade to set a new, clear rule for when religious displays are permissible on public property — and when they are not.“As far as predictions go,” Proctor said, “the widespread belief is that the court is likely to reverse the decision below and hold that the peace cross does not violate the establishment clause.”The big question, constitutional scholars say, is what reasoning the court will give — and whether they set a new single standard for future cases.“The big question is whether a majority of the court is ready to endorse the view that Justices Scalia and Thomas have been proposing for some time, namely, that because memorials and displays using religious symbols do not coerce religious activities or entangle church and state, they are simply not ‘establishments’ of religion,” said Notre Dame Law School professor Richard Garnett. 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Exclusive! Producer John Leguizamo & the Cast of Othello: The Remix

first_imgDJ Supernova, GQ, JQ, John Leguizamo, Jackson Doran & Postell Pringle(Photo: Emilio Madrid-Kuser) Othello: The Remix has had audiences buzzing about the Bard all over the place, and now the John Leguizamo-produced hip-hop musical has hit New York. Stars DJ Supernova, GQ, JQ, producer and two-time Tony nominee Leguizamo, Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle recently filmed a segment of NBC’s 1st Look with host Ashley Roberts (see below), and Broadway.com got in on the action. Othello: The Remix is currently giving Shakespeare his cool cred at off-Broadway’s Westside Theatre. Take a look at our hot shots of producer John Leguizamo and the talented cast! Othello: The Remix Related Showscenter_img View Comments Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 15, 2017last_img read more

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Buyers can have the chance to own a slice of Brisbane history

first_imgCheck out the bathroom at 23 Curlew Street, Toowong.Ms Bugler converted the ballroom into a bridal suite, but there are five other bedrooms as well as a granny flat.Many of the original features have been retained over the years.“I’ve done quite a bit of renovation to it, while the woman who owned it before me was from Boston, so the decor is very Bostonian,” Ms Bugler said. 23 Curlew Street, Toowong.Michelle Bugler has used the colonial residence to run a bed and breakfast accommodation business for the past decade.More from newsDigital inspection tool proves a property boon for REA website3 Apr 2020The Camira homestead where kids roamed free28 May 2019“The Toowong Historical Society said it was built by a Mr Wells, the first manager of the Bank of New South Wales in the city,” Ms Bugler said.“They believe it was built around 1886 and the ballroom was to receive Mr Wells’ guests.” Inside 23 Curlew Street, Toowong. 23 Curlew Street, Toowong.A stately colonial home at Toowong has hit the market for the first time in 12 years.The five-bedroom, five-bathroom home at 23 Curlew St has a rich past dating back to the 1800s when the area was home to elite upper-middle class residents who worked in the city. The kitchen at 23 Curlew Street, Toowong.Agent Dr Paul Howe, of [email protected], is selling the property, which is on a 753sq m hilltop block, via private appointment.last_img read more

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IPL 2019: Delhi Capitals win by 5 wickets to eliminate Rajasthan Royals

first_imgRajasthan Royals (RR) endured a sorry end to their IPL 2019 campaign after Delhi Capitals (DC) handed them a 5-wicket defeat in their last league game in Delhi. After hosts’ bowlers Amit Mishra (3/17), Ishant Sharma (3/38) and Trent Boult (2/27) combined to restrict Royals to 115/9 in the first innings, RR completed the chase with 23 balls to spare helped by Rishabh Pant’s 53*.The loss means that RR are now out of contention for the playoffs while DC shot up to the second position just behind Chennai Super Kings on the points table.Winning the toss and opting to bat first, Ajinkya Rahane’s decision took a turn for the worse when Ishant Sharma took dismissed Rahane (2) with a slower ball before disturbing Liam Livingstone’s (14) stumps with a similar delivery.When the in-form Sanju Samson (5) was run-out, after a huge mix-up with Mahipal Lomror, in the 5th over by a direct-hit from Prithvi Shaw, RR were in all sorts of trouble. In the next over, Sharma took care of Lomror (8) too by getting him caught behind the wicket.Leg-spinner Amit Mishra then tormented the Rajasthan batsmen by fooling Shreyas Gopal (12) with a loopy delivery before taking care of Stuart Binny (0) and Krishnappa Gowtham for 6.With wickets continuing to fall at one end, 17-year-old Riyan Parag took it upon himself to take the side to a respectable total. He unfurled a number of delightful strokes including back-to-back boundaries of DC’s premier bowlers- Sharma and Boult. In the process, Parag also became the youngest-ever half-centurion in the IPL when he hit Boult for twin sixes in the last over of RR’s innings. Aged 17 years 175 days, he broke the previous record held jointly by Sanju Samson and Prithvi Shaw. He was the last wicket to fall, having made 50(49).advertisementIn reply, DC started cautiously but openers Prithvi Shaw (8) and Shikhar Dhawan (16) were dismissed by Ish Sodhi off successive balls, right after it seemed that they were set.Skipper Shreyas Iyer then took matters into his own hands by dispatching Sodhi over his head for two successive maximums, before Rishabh Pant guided one towards the cover boundary in the same over, ruining the spinner’s figures.Pant continued his merrymaking by hitting Parag for back-to-back sixes in the next over but Iyer (15) fell to Gopal increasing DC’s anxiety. At 61/3 in the 8th over and Pant at the crease, Colin Ingram joined the left-hander to steady the chase.But Sodhi returned to send back the Kiwi for 12 getting him caught while trying to sweep as Rahane at slip pouched a simple catch off the gloves.Pant, on his part, maintained his composure, running hard between the wickets along with hitting the odd big hit when the opportunity arose. While Sherfane Rutherford (11) got out trying to hit Gopal out of the park, Pant and Axar Patel stayed patient to finish the chase with 23 balls to spare.Also Read | IPL 2019, DC vs RR: Riyan Parag youngest to hit an IPL fiftyAlso Read | AB de Villiers and I are like Ram-Lakhan: Virat Kohlilast_img read more

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