Is anyone surprised at this? A group of atheists filed suit Monday to prevent the iconic symbol from being displayed in the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
American Atheists, a group that describes its mission as protecting civil rights for non-believers, claims the government installation of the religious symbol is an unconstitutional “mingling of church and state.”
The group’s president, Dave Silverman, insists that no religious symbols should be included in the memorial of the 9/11 terror attacks at Ground Zero if the Christian cross is the only symbol being represented.
“As a public accommodation, the memorial must allow us (and all other religious philosophies) to include our own display of equal size inside the museum, or not include the cross. Equality is an all-or-nothing deal,” Silverman said in a statement.
The lawsuit, available on the group’s website, names the museum, New York and New Jersey, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Chris Christie, among others, as defendants.
The iconic World Trade Center cross, made up of two intersecting steel beams found intact amid the rubble of the 2001 terrorist attacks in downtown New York City, was placed inside the 9/11 memorial museum during a ceremony on Saturday. It was originally erected on Church St. on the side of St. Peter’s Church, the oldest Catholic parish in New York.
According to museum organizers, construction worker Frank Silecchia discovered the 17-foot-tall cross in the vicinity of 6 World Trade Center after the Sept. 11 attacks. Since then, the cross, the only thing left standing amid the rubble, has become an icon of hope and comfort for many New Yorkers.
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,” 9/11 Memorial president Joe Daniels said Saturday.
“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.”