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  • Atheists Sue to Remove World Trade Center Cross from 9/11 Museum and Memorial

    Attempts to eradicate religious symbols from the public square were in full force last week as a group of New York City atheists filed a lawsuit demanding that a building fragment known as the World Trade Center cross be removed from the 9/11 Museum and Memorial at Ground Zero.

    American Atheists, Inc., claims that the cross, which was moved to a permanent position at the 9/11 tribute last week, is not only “offensive and repugnant” to non-believers but an apparent source of physical discomfort to atheists.

    Two days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, rescue workers noticed a set of steel girders in the shape of a cross upright in the Twin Towers’ rubble. They salvaged the 20-foot tall object, later telling a local friar that the girders became “a sign that God never abandoned us at Ground Zero.”

    In the long days and months of rescue and clean up following 9/11, rescue workers, families of victims, and mourners visited the impromptu memorial, saying prayers for loved ones and leaving mementos of the fallen. Friar Brian Jordan explained further, “We interpreted it as a cross because we were in desperate need for some type of consolation, of support and comfort, which this cross provided.”

    However, what became a symbol of remembrance and consolation for many in the aftermath of the September 11 horrors is now a supposed source of indigestion and nausea to others. In their lawsuit filed last week demanding removal of the cross from the publicly funded 9/11 Memorial and Museum, American Atheists listed “dyspepsia,” “headaches,” and “mental anguish” as physical injuries allegedly suffered by non-believers at the mere thought of the cross being included in a permanent display.

    Perhaps noting other litigants’ recent difficulties in gaining legal standing, American Atheists is suing partially on the grounds that cognizable, physical injury results from viewing a publicly displayed religious symbol. One spokeswoman said that to her, the cross was nothing but an “ugly piece of wreckage that does not represent anything…but horror and death.”

    The cross, like many other artifacts (including religious symbols connected to the attack and its victims) that will be housed beside it in the city’s 9/11 museum, stands as a historical remembrance of one way people expressed grief and found solace at the site of the terrorist attacks. In a radio address this week, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg likewise defended inclusion of the cross in the museum: “This clearly influenced people. It gave them strength. In a museum you want to show things that impacted people’s behavior back then, even if you don’t think it was right. It’s history. Museums are for history.”

    To heed the demands of secularists, however, would require the government to refuse the inclusion of a significant piece of history simply because it also has religious connotations. Recognition of the role of the cross in these events does not amount to a state endorsement of Christianity. Such attempts to whitewash any mention of religious beliefs from the public square distort the design of American religious freedom and misconstrue the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of—not from—religion. As Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall explains about the American model of religious freedom:

    Far from privatizing religion, it assumes that religious believers and institutions will take active roles in society.… In fact, the American Founders considered religious engagement in shaping the public morality essential to ordered liberty and the success of their experiment in self-government.

    The American Atheists’ suit comes on the heels of threatened legal action by atheists who are offended by a Brooklyn street sign that was ceremonially renamed “Seven in Heaven Way,” honoring the memory of seven firefighters who died rescuing others on September 11. Kenneth Bronstein of the New York City Atheists, a plaintiff in the World Trade Center cross case, claims that the religious connotation of the word heaven in a public street sign is greatly “offensive.” However, misplaced hurt feelings—like sensitive stomachs—are unlikely to amount to a serious constitutional argument.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    51 Responses to Atheists Sue to Remove World Trade Center Cross from 9/11 Museum and Memorial

    1. Bobbie says:

      Unless it specifies a religious title, the cross isn't a religious connotation. It's a symbol of a man from history who's life promoted peace and humanity to the world and who's life was killed upon a cross. If anyone of life's people are intolerant of that, it's a good idea to stay away from their chosen weakness.

      People just go out of their way to become victims. A freedom of choice to show weakness and intolerance AND for attention! Don't defend the cross with money. If atheist pursue, only shows who they are. hmm, can't wait to see who supports a religion that promotes killings?

      They can't take the cross from our hearts.

    2. West Texan says:

      These Atheist would be right if they were excluded from this particular public display. But given the tragic losses of thousands of lives on 9/11, it's only appropriate that Christians find comfort in the cross remnant. Rather than complain, Atheist would do well to place their own memento or nothing at all. Same goes for people of varying faiths. Atheist are wrongly projecting their own dogma upon the faithful. Goes to show they're not as smart as they envision themselves.

      • Southwest Montanan says:

        This is fantastic. You're right, as an atheist I would love to sponsor a memorial featuring a list of classical gods with a casual strike through each name. Obviously this would include Yaweh. Nothing too hateful of course. Just a simple "not my thing." I'm sure you would appreciate and allow this simple atheist message.

      • Chris says:

        This is a small group of atheists in New York. Please don't generalize and make out that all atheists are the same. That is pretty ignorant of you. Goes to show you're not as smart as you envision yourself.

    3. Marc L says:

      If I were an ultra-conservative Christian (oh wait, I am), I might argue that their physical anguish is God's way of getting their attention when they are focusing so hard on hating Him.

      Remember that just because you don't believe something, it doesn't make it not true.

    4. Chris in N.Va. says:

      A "source of physical discomfort?" Oh, get a life!

      Next up, banning of all window pane treatments that might have embedded cross pieces in the slates.

      If some people didn't have anything to complain about, they'd be complaining about that.

      • DPR says:

        it offends me that they get physical discomfort from the shape of the wreckage, not the loss of life and massive destruction it came from, that is what gives me physical discomfort

    5. @Kimmie_1873 says:

      You got to be kidding me! Really, upset stomachs. Give me a break. What a bunch of crybabies. There is a lot of offensive stuff displayed in this world. Look at all the racy ads that are everywhere. How about nude art? I guess we should get rid of everything that is displayed then huh. NOT!

      • Lisa says:

        I know right? I personally think that athiests ARE a bunch of crybabies. They want to get rid of EVERYTHING that is Christian. Well I don't like racy ads and nude art, so I don't look at it. Why don't they learn from this….and if the cross offends them, then DON'T LOOK AT IT! LOL. They really do amuse me in a way.

    6. Granny Dilley says:

      I asked the Dr. why it hurts when I "do this". Dr. cured me; he said, "DON'T DO THIS".
      If you find pain in looking at a cross, you must have an enourmously painful time living in a land filled with a majority of CHRISTIANS….many of whom are Catholics who actually WEAR a cross. ALso, just going for a short drive must give you much distress! There seems to be a Christian Church, most of which have a CROSS on their structure in a prominent place, in EVERY square MILE OF EVERY CITY in the US. Goodness, you may have to make a choice: close your eyes and DON'T LOOK… or MOVE! (Try living in IRAN! Too many Christians for you in Canada and too many Catholics for you in Mexico!!)

    7. Erin says:

      Sigh.

      If you don't like it, look away.

    8. Christine says:

      A recent poll on Facebook showed that 86 percent of the US population believes that God created the world. While only Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, history shows him as a martyr who died for his beliefs, despite not being found guilty of ANY CRIME. This cross symbolizes the deaths of over 3000 people who were killed by muslim extremists for being Americans. While the cross is the symbol of my savior, it is also symbolic of people who died in the name of their country. Let the cross stay!!!

    9. @dougfoot says:

      Nothing in the Constitution says anything about freedom from religion, nor that we have the right not to be offended. To put it mildly, to those who find this offensive, put on your big boy pants, shut your pie hole, and leave the rest of us in piece.
      Too many times the majority of us just turn the other cheek and let the minority run us over. That hasn't worked out so well.
      Call me what you will, but personally, talk to the hand.

      • SouthernBelle says:

        You are so right dougfoot.. If Christians would actually stand together and just plain STAND… Who can be against us?

    10. Donna says:

      The Atheists beliefs make me sick to my stomach! They are stomping on my rights and I'm tired of it. This country was founded with a belief in God. Let their whiney butts go somewhere else. Christians have right too!

      • Lisa says:

        Me too Donna. They make ME uncomfortable…how do we get THEM removed? :) Why is it that we as a country are SO worried about offending people of other religions or nationalities but no one seems one bit concerned with us as Christians being offended? Shouldn't this being sensitive to others go both ways? I know Im probably preaching to the choir but I'm sure you agree with me on the above point. Have a nice day and God bless!

    11. Stirling says:

      what a joke of policial correctness gone amuck. It's sad when those who don't belive in God have the ability to mess this country up for the rest of us God fearing americans. Where's the tolerance from the atheists??

    12. Mark says:

      Forgive them, Father ……

    13. Joy says:

      I find it interesting that seeing a cross makes them have stomach aches and headaches!! There are churchs all over the world with crosses on them!! Do they take a different street every time they are close to one?? The funny thing is that atheists supposedly don't believe in God or any entity and yet they are the most religious about their non- belief and converting others to their non- belief of any sect in the world!! I don't tell atheist's what to not believe in…nor what signs they can make…they have no right to tell me or anyone else what they have a right to put on their signs, buildings or homes!! Last I checked we had freedom of religion in this country…don't know how long that will last with the present administration…president…but it is still in place now. We need to pray for people who have nothing in their lives as important as "trying' to persecute christians!! Seriously!

    14. ciran says:

      wake up,if you dont like the cross move on .i dont like choclate ice cream and guess what ?i dont eat it .get a life and take care of your kids please,dont let them grow up like you.and im one that doesent go to church.but get a life please.

    15. George says:

      People don't have the right to worship false gods. "Religious liberty" is a libertarian idea, not a conservative one. Libertarians preach an insanity, NAMELY, THAT ‘LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE AND WORSHIP IS EACH MAN’S PERSONAL RIGHT, WHICH OUGHT TO BE LEGALLY PROCLAIMED AND ASSERTED IN EVERY RIGHTLY CONSTITUTED SOCIETY. But while they rashly affirm this, they do not understand and note that they are preaching liberty of perdition. While "religious freedom" is obviously preferable to an anti-Christian government, the ideal is that the state establishes Christianity as the official religion.

    16. Jason says:

      These should at least call themselves by their proper name, they are not "Atheists", they're "Antitheists".

    17. M. H. says:

      The cross in its current location looks like it is being displayed more as a religious symbol than an important 9/11 artifact. Move it inside, give it a place as an artifact rather than some sort of message to the world that this is not placing Christianity above all other religions (or lack thereof).

      Also, can we please be a little more civil with these "Get a life!" and "You got to be kidding me!" comments? I'm sure it would bother a great majority of Christians if we happened to find a Muslim-esque star-and-crescent in the rubble and put it on display. (Of course, a cross is more likely to be found in a collapsed building made of crossed beams…)

      • TimAz1 says:

        Why exactly should you not have to observe tolerance for others as you would demand others to tolerate you?

      • Bobbie says:

        "The cross in its current location looks like it is being displayed more as a religious symbol than an important 9/11 artifact." You're kidding me? Get a life! What's it to you? If religion offends you why would you EVER look at it that way???? the only mention of religion is coming from your head!

    18. Sami says:

      Cross is a sign of comfort, those who are not accepting it wont ever be comforted . Hey atheists ! Do remember my statement, if you are disrespecting Jesus and its cross then you are screwed big time. Just look in to your houses, businesses and families, you dont have satisfaction and peace of mind i guarantee.

    19. Barbie says:

      Jesus says if you don't know Me now (on earth) then..I won't know you on Judgement Day….there are only 2 places to go for eternity…Jesus won't let you in if He don't know you or you deny Him…what's left???

    20. SouthernBelle says:

      The though that goes through my head? If athiests are smart enough to complain of injury over this… Why have Christians yet to complain about the pain and anguish of knowing our tax dollars go to support the murder of millions of innocent unborn babies every year? Why can Christians not stand up for something instead of freak and whine about the athiest are doing? Honestly.. I would rather the cross be removed and sent to a Church ground near the area.. and Christians stand up for something REAL like ABORTION.. this cross is a symbol.. yes a well needed and beautiful symbol… but ABORTION is MURDER! Get your priorities straight people!!

      • Bobbie says:

        I would rather people intolerant of two steal beams that cross, get some mental help instead of freak and whine.

      • TimAz1 says:

        I suppose the answer is, that most religions include tolerance as part of their beleif system. If you have no beleif of any thing then you are exempt from having to tolerate anything at any moment. This is why we allow them to use our tax dollars to abort their own young. Even though they refuse to extend the courtesy of tolerance towards people who hold religious values. In other words they see us as fools for limiting our behaviors through moral restraint.

    21. Pingback: Why Does America Welcome Immigrants?

    22. Normct says:

      What happened to the rights of the multitude???

    23. Jill Maine says:

      Maybe the atheists can have their own display. I submit they should put the gate to Auschwitz on display because it is the symbol of what Godlessness can do.

    24. ROYSTOLL2 says:

      If the Atheist bothered to read the First Amendment to the Constitution of The United States they would find the wording"Congress shall make no law respecting an established religion or prohibiting the free exersize thereof:". It seems pretty easy to understand to me but then again I am not a liberal nor am I an atheist. In college, one of my psych professors made a statement that some people behave just like infants who wet their pants to get attention. How long is this country going to be ruled by people like this? The news media just thrives on it and stirring the pot anyway. Texas just passed a loser pays lawsuit which I bet would stop a lot of this frivilous waste of taxpayer money.

    25. Lisa says:

      I say let them be uncomfortable! I for one find THEM uncomfortable…how do we go about getting THEM removed?

    26. Dick says:

      Perhaps if they became a majority? Probably, they already vote democrat, so not a new potential constituency. Oh wait. All they have to do is find a dumb bunny judge somewhere, and the judicial interference starts all over again.

    27. Pingback: Juicio contra la Cruz del World Trade Center | Heritage Libertad

    28. Kimberly says:

      The Cross represents a man , a savior & Lord who died for many so they could believe they were saved , & a everlasting life. Many who died on that day 9-11 believed. And the Cross is a sign of relief & love & everlasting life to the victims families who visit know it brings serenity & peace & comfort at a time in their life. I say leave the Cross to stand. And to the crybaby atheist well I cried like a baby when 9-11 happened which was bad enough over the Cross I cry & laugh for joy knowing someday I will have a heavenly place.Weakness comes from one who is weak or scared of the truth. Does the truth scare you cause without Jesus their is no place but hell. That day changed my life & I never been the same..

    29. Me+You says:

      If it's there because of government money, or on public property, get rid of it as it's obviously pandering to a specific religious community. OTOH, if it's on private property or the building is being built w/ private funds, leave it there and treat it w/ the respect it's due.

      WRT all the lovely comments against atheists, (1) you too are an Atheist as there have been thousands of gods in human history and everyone one of them was claimed to be the true god(s), but YOU don't believe they exist. For them, you are an Atheist. Whomever your god(s) is/are, their turn to be dismissed will come in time too — it's just the way things are. (2) Freedom of speech means everybody has the freedom to speak. It doesn't mean Freedom to speak only the things you approve. So if you want to bad mouth someones belief system that you don't respect, fine. But you'd better be prepared to listen when somebody who doesn't respect your belief system bad mouths you and yours in turn.

    30. frog says:

      To those who are uncomfortable upon seeing the cross: Maybe you need to look at why it makes you uncomfortable. Love is stronger than hate. Try this: Love your neighbor as youself. Just try it for a week and see if your life improves.

    31. April says:

      This is faulty inconclusive reporting people, sigh. I hope you get your information from more than one source. Read the complaint that was filed. there was NO mention of upset stomachs or indegestions, wow really? This is part of the never ending campain to mislead the public as to the ACTUAL facts about Atheists and their attempts to be equals in a secular society. They petetioned that all religions get EQUAL rights to display religious symbol, including Atheists/ Humanists or that NO ONE ONE get to display. Religious favoritism is what they are protesting. They with perfect logic and reason prefer no religious symbol… why? Not due to their lack of belief. The terrible acts of 911 was due to religious terrorism. They suggest that rather than litter the site with countless religious symbols of equal size, to instead have one item (perhaps a plaque) recognizing that all life is precious regardless of religious divide. Does that offend ANYONE?????

    32. Jerry says:

      I don't give a damn what your religion is, that's your business, just as my beliefs are mine, but don't presume to dictate to others based upon your own set of principles or beliefs! The cross should stay, if you don't like it, don't look! Political correctness gone mad!

    33. Eric Schaub says:

      Very disturbing to learn this. I believe we need to pray for these Heathens, Infidels, Pagans, or Atheist. Christ said to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

    34. mikey chicagoland says:

      I really don't see what the problem is. It is a piece of scrap iron that eluded the recyclers. I say they look at this exhibit as a non-denominational art display of the remains of the WTC. If they think it looks like a Christian Cross, that means the Atheists must have some sort of guilt complex going on. If the display resembled a Menorah, or the tower in Mecca, Buddha, or some other religious symbol, I wouldn't give a hoot either. Because it is an art display of regional scrap iron.

    35. Mike Sticlaru says:

      There are some good points here, although mostly from religious folks. Lets change the scenario just a little, and lets assume that instead of some metal that looks like a cross, it was a hunk of metal that looked like the Star of David, or a Menorah. Lets say now that instead of that cross, that new hunk of metal was perched in the same place. Are you guys saying that this would not be offensive to you at all? How about if a hunk of metal that resembles the Dharmachakra (a Buddhist symbol of the path of enlightenment), would you also be just as tolerant? Maybe it wouldn't bother you , but I am betting that it would. Just because someone has a different belief does not make them devoid of their feelings.

      Some of you are Hippocrates, I doubt Jesus would be so quick to judge those who do not believe. Instead of slandering these individuals, you should be accepting of them, as Jesus would want you to be. He would not condone the judgement you are placing on these people simply because they do not believe as you do…

      Think about it…

    36. marie says:

      Please read the Christian Bible from front to back. It proves without a shadow of a doubt (or at least to me) that Jesus is God's ONLY Begotten Son, and is the only way to God the Father. But Faith is a matter of choice. I choose Faith. But more humanly I would like to say to the atheists; I am not overly concerned with your discomfort caused by looking at the cross. JUST DON'T LOOK!

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