NPR

Cross Clash Could Change Rules For Separation Of Church And State

This week, the newly constituted conservative Supreme Court majority will weigh how the federal government should treat religious symbols paid for with taxpayer funds.
A World War I memorial cross sits in Bladensburg, Md., just outside Washington, D.C. The federal government asked the Supreme Court to rule in favor of the cross, which critics say is an unconstitutional state religious endorsement. Arguments are scheduled to be heard this week. Source: Becky Harlan

A giant concrete cross standing in the middle of a busy median strip is the latest symbol of a constitutional fight that has raged for decades. It's a fight over the concept of the separation of church and state and what the Founding Fathers meant when they wrote into the First Amendment a ban on government "establishment" of religion.

Just how to treat such religious symbols and taxpayer funding for programs at religious institutions will play out Wednesday before a newly constituted conservative Supreme Court majority.

The case before the court involves a cross that was erected nearly 100 years ago when bereaved mothers in Bladensburg, Md., decided to build a World War I memorial to honor their fallen sons. When

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