Atheist group sues over cross at Sept. 11 museum

In an article in the Wall Street Journal by the Associated Press, the argument is made that the cross being erected at the 9/11 memorial is unconstituational because

The museum is a public institution and should not reflect a specific religion, said the American Atheists, a nonprofit group aimed at safeguarding separation of church and state that filed the civil lawsuit in Manhattan State Supreme Court.


In another recent fight over secularism and September 11, the street sign controversy, I argued that it was a fight we shouldn't get involved in and we should pick and choose our battles. In terms of this fight and the cross, I wholeheartedly agree with the lawsuit and think this should be taken down. The memory of those who died on that day should be cross all bridges whether race, religions, non-religion, gender etc..Especially with the recent push back by the christian community because of the marriage rights given to homosexuals in New York, I feel strongly that we also need to push back other attempts to make their biased voices heard.


The article from the journal is below:


Atheist group sues over cross at Sept. 11 museum


NEW YORK — The installation of a cross-shaped steel beam at the Sept. 11 memorial at ground zero is unconstitutional, a national atheist group argued in a lawsuit filed Wednesday, asking a judge to order it removed or request that other religions and nonreligious views be equally represented at the site.

The museum is a public institution and should not reflect a specific religion, said the American Atheists, a nonprofit group aimed at safeguarding separation of church and state that filed the civil lawsuit in Manhattan State Supreme Court.

The cross was found amid the wreckage from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by a construction worker who said he stumbled onto a miracle. It was moved to the ground zero site last weekend from a temporary post after a blessing by a Catholic priest and is to become part of the permanent collection of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. The memorial will open this year on the 10th anniversary of the attack; the museum, which is mostly underground, will open next year.

The Rev. Brian Jordan, who was instrumental in the preservation of the cross, celebrated Mass under the twisted steel beams and said people from other religions came to pray collectively. He said the 2-ton, 20-foot-high T-beam provided comfort to hundreds of suffering people — and continues to do so.

The cross is being displayed in the museum not because of its religious value, but rather the role it played in the tragedy, and other religions would be represented, museum officials said.

"The mission of the National September 11 Memorial Museum is to tell the history of 9/11 through historic artifacts like the World Trade Center cross. This steel remnant became a symbol of spiritual comfort for the thousands of recovery workers who toiled at ground zero, as well as for people around the world," museum president Joe Daniels said in a statement.

Dave Silverman, president of the American Atheists, said the group's main concern is equality.

He said the Sept. 11 attacks were an American tragedy, "but the Christian community has secured sole representation in the memorial for itself at the exclusion of other religions and philosophies," he added. "What we're looking for is a remedy that honors everyone equally, with a religion-neutral display, or display of equal size and prominence."

He said the group has offered to pay for such a display and has several ideas to represent all religions — such as a firefighter carrying out a victim.

The American Atheists was founded in 1963 and defines atheism as "the lack of belief in a deity." The group is dedicated to working for the civil rights of atheists, promoting separation of church and state, and providing information about atheism.

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press


Views: 18

Comment by Sophie on July 28, 2011 at 11:06am

They are doing the right thing. 

Comment by Meghan McWilliams on July 28, 2011 at 11:34am
If the 9/11 attacks were not carried out by religious extremist there would not be a cross. I was at pearl harbor a few months back and I’m pretty sure there isn’t a cross there. I personally don’t care. I do see it as kick in the face to other religious Americans that practice outside the Christian faith. There were many people killed that day of various faiths. It's BS.
Comment by Dr. del Toro on November 30, 2011 at 9:56pm



The "cross" should remain as it is a historic artifact, not just some religious relic.  As long as the story (a neutral account of the events and what it meant to some people) behind the piece of rubble is included and not something like "This cross was miraculously left behind by the will of God as a reminder of His love for us" or some bullshit.


We need to pick our battles.  This is not one worth fighting.




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