Atheists groups have been particularly vocal about what they do and don’t want with regard to 9/11 memorials, whether they be street signs in Red Hook (Seven in Heaven Way) or displaying the World Trade Center cross at the 9/11 Memorial. The American Atheists have filed a lawsuit, which names defendants including the city of New York and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, as well as the priest who initially blessed the cross, and said in a press statement that the “government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state.”
The World Trade Center “cross” consists of two intersecting steel beams that remained when the towers collapsed, and was moved on Saturday to a spot at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, where it was blessed in a service by a Franciscan monk who ministered to workers who helped clear the area after the attacks.
While the American Atheists consider the cross “a Christian icon” that ignores the diverse backgrounds of the people who died that day, as well 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,” Joe Daniels, president of the Memorial, considers it a symbol of progress and a part of the commitment to bring back physical reminders that tell the story of 9/11.
Meanwhile, conservative, Christian, pro-life group the American Center for Law and Justice (founded by Pat Robertson) has said they will file a “friend of the court” brief in support of the cross. (They’re one of the groups who tried to block the Islamic center in downtown New York.)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2011