Thank God, Allah, Buddha or the Flying Spaghetti Monster deity of “Pastafarians” who poke fun at religion. Just give thanks for the First Amendment, which could save us from a dangerous ruling last week by two activists on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals.

A 2-1 ruling declared the 40-foot Peace Cross, a historic veterans’ memorial, a crime scene. The two confused judges want the cross to come down. They said the 90-year-old memorial, at a Maryland intersection, sets a “dangerous precedent” by entangling the government in religion.

Defenders of the Peace Cross plan to petition the U.S. Supreme Court. Please, take this case. Other memorials are under similar attacks, and a ruling is needed to settle these disputes.

The first order of business in our Bill of Rights prevents government from forcing us to embrace religion. In the same sentence, the law bars government from interfering with our freedom to exercise and express beliefs.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

Nowhere does this say we must scour religion from government property, which would prohibit the free exercise of religion among those who work in public space or reside in prisons or public housing.

The Founders did not enact the establishment clause to protect government space from sights and sounds of religion. They did not set out to give secularist expressions special privilege over other forms of free speech.

Instead, they precluded federal government from favoring one or more religions and excluding others. They wrote the free exercise clause to prevent those in authority from interfering in the free exercise of religion in public or private space. They sought to protect all religious expression, which includes the Peace Cross.

If government destroys this veterans’ memorial, it will damage freedom of speech and religion at an expense to nonbelievers and the faithful alike. We all need the First Amendment. So hope, or pray, the Supreme Court saves the Peace Cross.

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