Judge: 40-foot tall cross on public land in Maryland doesn't violate Constitution

A federal judge says a 40-foot tall cross on land owned by the state of Maryland doesn't violate the Constitution.

An atheist group had sued over the war memorial in 2014, arguing it amounted to government sponsorship of religion in violation of the First Amendment, but Judge Deborah K. Chasanow disagreed in a ruling Monday.

She wrote that "there is overwhelming evidence in the record showing that the predominant purpose of the Monument was for secular commemoration."

The monument stands at the intersection of Maryland Route 450 and U.S. Route 1 in Bladensburg, just outside Washington, and is referred to as the "Bladensburg Cross" and the "Peace Cross." A plaque at its base lists the names of 49 men from Prince George's County who died in World War I.