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First Liberty Briefing

First Liberty Briefing is an exclusive podcast hosted by First Liberty Institute’s Deputy General Counsel Jeremy Dys. In about 90-seconds, once a week, Jeremy recalls the stories that have shaped America’s religious liberty, from the founding era to current legal battles and more. It’s an insider’s look at the stories, cases, people, and laws that have made America the world’s leader in protecting religious liberty.
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Nov 18, 2019

Activists challenged Lehigh County in Pennsylvania for retaining a cross symbol among the various elements displayed in its county seal. Following the precedents set in The American Legion v. AHA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld Lehigh County’s right to include the cross in its seal. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.


Activists who dislike the presence of anything religious in public can no longer safely assume that judges will order religious symbols hidden from public view. 

In recent decades, progressives have turned to the courts to accomplish what ought to be done in the political arena. No less is that true than when it comes to religiously expressive symbols that appear in public. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in The American Legion v. AHA is correcting the faulty understanding of the First Amendment.

In Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, for instance, that county’s seal includes various elements symbolic of their community, including a cross.  That, activists say, establishes a religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution.  Mercifully, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit disagreed.

Judge Thomas Hardiman explained that what matters is less how old a particular religious symbol is and more whether its use fits within our country’s longstanding traditions.

He said, “The Lehigh County seal fits comfortably within a long tradition of State and municipal seals and flags throughout our Republic that include religious symbols or mottos which further confirms its constitutionality.”

Rather than allow judges to force the removal, destruction, or censoring of religiously expressive monuments, symbols, or practices, The American Legion line of cases safeguards the history of our country, the text of our Constitution, and the simplicity of a self-governed local community.

To learn how First Liberty is protecting religious liberty for all Americans, visit FirstLiberty.org.

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