WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — A Muslim advocacy group is urging the Supreme Court to protect a church-state divide in regards to the Bladensburg Cross, a 40-foot monument at an intersection in a Maryland suburb.
Muslim Advocates and the law firm Arnold & Porter filed an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to “affirm the country’s longstanding commitment to separation of church and state in two cases involving a 40-foot cross on state property in Prince George’s County, Md,”
In two consolidated cases to be decided by the Supreme Court, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission v. American Humanist Association and The American Legion v. American Humanist Association, the justices must determine whether the cross violates the Constitution’s Establishment Clause.
The clause is a “fundamental protection that ensures that the government does not favor one faith over the other,”
In the amicus brief filed Wednesday, Muslim Advocates and Arnold & Porter argued that not only does the Bladensburg Cross clearly violate the constitution, it also sends a message of exclusion to religious minorities and others who encounter the cross daily.
“Maryland has no business maintaining a religious monument, especially one that’s forty feet tall,” said Nimra Azmi, staff attorney at Muslim Advocates. “We hope that the Supreme Court uses these cases as an opportunity to reaffirm our country’s fundamental belief that no government in this country should make anyone feel excluded or unwelcome because of their religious beliefs.”
“This case offers the Supreme Court an opportunity to reaffirm the Establishment Clause’s historic role as a check against religious persecution and a safeguard of religious conscience,” said Andrew Tutt, attorney at Arnold & Porter. “We were honored to support Muslim Advocates in encouraging the Court to take that opportunity.”
Arguments of the case are expected sometime this winter.