A group known as “American Atheists” filed a lawsuit this week to stop organizers of the World Trade Center Memorial from displaying what has come to be known as the “World Trade Center Cross” at the site of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
Cross Crosses Line of Separation of Church and State
The group believes displaying the cross is an unconstitutional breech of the separation of church and state, saying in a statement that “the government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state.” The group has posted the text of the lawsuit on their website as well as filing the lawsuit in court in New York.A large number of defendants are named in the suit, including New Jersey, New York City, Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg and the governor of New Jersey Chris Christie.
Steel Beams Symbol of Hope
The cross has come to be an iconic symbol of the pain and loss of the tragic event which happened on September 11, 2001. When the Twin Towers were destroyed two intersecting steel beams remained upright when all else was rubble and dust. The cross has brought symbolic meaning of the attack, affording it a place in any memorial built to honor the memory of the people who died there and to bring comfort to those who lost loved ones there.Memorial organizers have said that the cross is not necessarily a religious symbol although it has been kept near a church until it was moved to the memorial site on Saturday. The cross was also given a ceremonial blessing at a religious service held by Father Brian Jordan, who is a Franciscan monk. Jordan ministered to workers who were clearing the area which came to be known as Ground Zero in the aftermath of the attacks.The president of the 9/11 Memorial, Joe Daniels, commented on Saturday about the importance the cross has to those wishing to commemorate the events of September 11, saying that,
“The cross is “an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could.
“Its return is a symbol of the progress on the Memorial & Museum that we feel rather than see, reminding us that commemoration is at the heart of our mission.”
Dave Silverman, president of ‘Atheist Americans’ disagrees, asserting that the cross sends a more religious message.
“The WTC cross has become a Christian icon. It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross. It’s a truly ridiculous assertion.”