Skip to comments.9/11 museum, atheists spar over cross
Posted on 08/17/2012 12:30:16 PM PDT by CHRISTIAN DIARIST
(CBS News) The National September 11 Memorial and Museum's planned presentation of the World Trade Center cross-shaped steel beam, which became a famous Ground Zero symbol right after the September 11 attacks, is being legally challenged by an atheist group.
Last year, American Atheists sued the museum for the cross' removal, arguing that the steel beam promoted religion. Its legal director, Edwin Kagin, argued that the display represents "a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land."
This week, as previously reported by The New York Post and The New York Times, the museum filed court papers to have the lawsuit thrown out.
American Atheists' president, David Silverman, characterized the display as "a clear instance of a violation of the separation of church and state in its extreme."
"This shrine is a cross," Silverman told CBS News on Thursday. "It was picked up, trimmed, polished, the word 'Jesus' was carved on top of it, it was prayed over in front of a church for five years, and then it was installed in the WTC memorial with no warning by a priest in a religious service where in the ground was consecrated. This is a working Christian shrine in the memorial and then they had the gall to say it's not religious in nature, that it represents everybody. That's not true. It does not represent Jews, Muslims, Mormons or atheists, and they all had deaths on 9/11."
Silverman said that the museum should either remove the cross or acknowledge everybody else who died in the tragedy in a manner equal to Christians. "We're talking about public lands, we're talking about public funds, we're talking about congressionally ordered public funds. We're talking about an 18-foot memorial, this is grossly inappropriate. We feel very strongly that this is an attempt to Christianize 9/11, to make it about Christians, even though it's not about Christians at all."
When contacted by CBS News, the museum said it had no comments on Silverman's claims. As reported by other media outlets, the museum in its court filing characterized itself is an "independent non-profit corporation." It called the cross an "important and essential artifact" that "belongs at the World Trade Center site as it comprises a key component of the re-telling of the story of 9/11."
Michael Moreland, vice dean and professor of law at Villanova University School of Law in Pennsylvania, said there are two issues presented in this case. "If the court agrees with the Museum that it is a private non-profit organization," Morel told CBS News, "then the museum will win because a private party can't violate the Establishment Clause - only the government can.
"But, second, displays of religious symbols by the government aren't always unconstitutional. In 2010, a majority of the Supreme Court indicated that a memorial cross on government land in the Mojave Desert was constitutionally permissible because a reasonable observer wouldn't conclude that the government was 'endorsing' Christianity by displaying the cross on public land. Given the historical significance of the 9/11 cross during the Ground Zero cleanup, I think the museum has a strong argument that the cross's historical significance outweighs any perceived government endorsement of religion."
According to Peter Breen, executive and legal counsel for Thomas More Society, a Chicago-based law firm involved in pro-life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty issues, said that a private entity cannot violate one's constitutional rights.
"It appears based on the arguments of the lawyers of the museum," he said, "they're arguing from pretty solid ground - that a museum cannot be prohibited from displaying a historical item merely because the item has religious significance or is in viewed with religious significance by others. I think the lawyers for the museum were also right to condemn this as an attempt to revise the very history of the site by trying to keep the 9/11 cross out of the museum."
The museum's recent court filing to dismiss American Atheists' lawsuit was expected, according to Silverman."We think our lawsuit is not only valid but winnable," he said, "and it must be won in fact."
The Fluken “atheists” are really pissing me off. They need to just stay at their “gay” bars and leave the normal people alone.
Even under the cockamamie 1st Amendment jurisprudence of the Supreme Court this should survive a court challenge.
I'm an atheist, and these people piss me off too. I don't really care if there is a cross on public property or a display of the Ten Suggestions in a county courthouse. None of this gets my shorts into a wad.
When I run across a militant atheist like these people, my first impulse if to whomp them upside the head and tell them to get a life.
It does not represent Jews, Muslims, Mormons or atheists, and they all had deaths on 9/11.
Why you arrogant POS, the muslims have something for you and you better believe that.................
Someone tell the moron that al Qaeda's self-declared alternate name was the "Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders."
So yes, 9/11 is most certainly about Christianity and Judaism.
If those who are not Christian lost loved ones on 9/11 want to add their contribution to the site then fine, they can do that without the involvement of the intolerant hate group "American Atheists", which had nothing to do with 9/11, and needs to crawl back under whatever rock they came from.
Just doing their job:
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
These people really need to get over themselves.
I don’t have a problem with atheists because I understand that the militant “atheists” are homosexuals and they are having a really swell time right now getting in the faces of Americans. Especially Christian Americans. Most Americans are scared to death of these freaks due to political correctness. Well, the PC and race card gigs have worn thin with a lot of decent Americans. There will be a payback and the militant homosexuals and militant “atheists” aren’t going to like it when that time comes.
Atheists must be very bitter that there is anything at all, since their being alive, by its very nature, leads them to such bitter conflict.