Republican Congressperson Wants to Make the 9/11 Cross a National Monument

American Atheists is still in the middle of its lawsuit to prevent the Christian Cross from being displayed in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum (unless museum officials allow icons from all faiths and no faith to be included as well).

Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) has found a way to give the two steel girders even more symbolic-and-after-the-fact meaning:

A New York congressman plans to introduce legislation that would make a national monument out of the so-called World Trade Center cross.

[Grimm] said the cross is “not about Christianity” and should be given national recognition even if it’s not in a museum.

“This cross was a symbol of comfort and hope for 9/11 first responders, for families, for all those that were part of this horrific, horrific terrorist attack,” he told Fox News. “And it’s part of the healing process. It’s part of that closure, and it’s part of the history of that situation.”

Grimm said he’ll introduce his bill to make the cross a national monument as soon as the House returns from its summer break Wednesday.

Surely, there are churches in the area that would love to have the cross. Let them have it. By putting one religion’s display (oh wait, they’re including a Jewish one, too!) at a venue that’s supposed to be a memorial for all Americans, they’re implying that non-Christians didn’t suffer as much as Christians did or that atheists and Muslims didn’t die in the attacks alongside the Christians, both of which are false.

The Cross doesn’t need to be in the memorial and it certainly doesn’t deserve “national monument” status. Hell, I’ll bet many Christians hadn’t even heard of this cross until a month or two ago when this story started making headlines (and I’ll bet most Christians still don’t know what it is).

It’s an unnecessary relic for the memorial — the fact that so many Christians are up in arms defending its inclusion just says to me that this is only a religious display that has little to do with the “history” of 9/11.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Pam Ellis

    God seemed to be OK with the planes hitting the towers and the towers coming down.
    That is all I think about when I see that “cross”.

    • http://twitter.com/JASacmvp Justin A Smith

      It is at best a symbol of god’s misplaced priorities during 9/11

      • SJH

        So God exists or does not? Which is it. Am I to understand by your comment that you have such an understanding of our existence that you can determine which priorities are misplaced? It seems that if you do not understand it then it must not be true. I hope that you do not view science this way. 

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          No, the way we view science is: if a claim has evidence to back it up, then it can be considered true. If not, then there is no reason to believe said claim until such evidence can be provided.

          Who was saying they didn’t understand something? We understand quite well the claims that are made of this God character, and we can quite easily dismiss them as false due to lack of evidence where there should be some.

        • http://yetanotheratheist.com/ TerranRich

          No, the way we view science is: if a claim has evidence to back it up, then it can be considered true. If not, then there is no reason to believe said claim until such evidence can be provided.

          Who was saying they didn’t understand something? We understand quite well the claims that are made of this God character, and we can quite easily dismiss them as false due to lack of evidence where there should be some.

          • SJH

            The implication is that he does not understand, that if God exists, how God chooses his priorities.
            What I was trying to say is that, philosophically, you can’t claim that something is false just because you do not understand why it occurred. Justin is implying that God does not exist because if he did he would be displaying his imperfect set of priorities which implies that he is not God.  This is flawed because if he does exist then he has an understanding of our existence that far surpasses our own.

        • ACN

          Sometimes all you need to do with a supernatural claim is underline its implications.

          Do you seriously not understand that Justin was mocking a view without holding the view personally?

          • SJH

            Yes, I do understand, sorry it was just bad sarcasm.

        • ACN

          Sometimes all you need to do with a supernatural claim is underline its implications.

          Do you seriously not understand that Justin was mocking a view without holding the view personally?

        • Rabid

          God’s To Do List: Sep 11, 2001

          Stop plane from crashing into WTC, saving passengers and tower residents near impact site: No.
          Save those trapped on higher floors by creating escape routes that don’t necessitate jumping from 100+ stories: Hmmm… Nah.
          Save those trapped in WTC by stopping towers from collapsing: I’ll pass on this.

          Ensure piece of the wreckage is shaped like a cross so people know that I am an all-powerful, badass and all around awesome son of a bitch: FUCK YEAH, BABY!!!! LET’ DO THIS!!!! 8D

          YOU GET IT RIGHT? RIGHT?

          • SJH

            I don’t know if God ensured the cross would stand or not. But, I can see how He might if there was a purpose for allowing the disaster and He wanted to leave something that would give people hope that he was still there.

            • Anonymous

              No, that doesn’t fit.  Then you would be implicitly acknowledging something like this:

              “I’ll be there and stand by while a couple thousand of my followers die, and leave a memento of myself to remind people that I was there but did nothing about it.”

  • Trevbritt

    This is a messed up nation when people think that that cross means something. Does it mean that god was watching but didn’t care? What do they think it symbolizes?

    • Iota

      It could mean that god tried to save the buildings and that little piece of what is now scrap metal is the best he could do.

      • Anonymous

        i took a course in Div school called “the problem of Job.” appox 5,000 pages of the very best in “why evil exists, even tho we have a Loving Gawd.” the bottom like, according to my instructors? because, um, you deserve it. even Job’s virgin adolescent daughters, even those of a purely different faith being faithful. because, um, gawd was angry. and that’s our fault, or something. do you have your unblemished female goat ready to atone for your sin? if not, your neighbor’s kids deserve to die, horribly. etc. 

        why people worship such a horror is beyond me, but then again i don’t watch or subscribe to TV. so wdik. 

  • T.C.

    Both of you, well said. Including solely a cross is just a stupid idea, nothing more can be said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/FredERhodes Frederick Rhodes

    PublicRemove Post…
    Frederick Rhodesposted toACLU NationwideIn memory of the human rights violations that caused the 9/11 emergency wake up call to action, let us all speak out in recognition and defence for the least of our brothers and sisters who are forced to become unlawfully sexually traumatised, terrorized, molested, and mutilated as infants and children because of the freedom to commit false god worshipping in the way of religious, ritual, and rout…ine infant prepuce excisions, causing many of us to grow up with a need to attack our oppressors. The real psychological and physical long term risks and harms outweigh the potential benefits of circumcisions caused from lack of education on the benefits of the functions, care, and proper use of the human prepuce.

  • http://twitter.com/JASacmvp Justin A Smith

    Constitution loving Republicans proposing wildly unconstitutional legislation.

  • Anonymous

    When they first started about including this cross in the memorial I didn’t care as long as it wasn’t the star attraction, I do feel it had a lot of relevance to Christians. I was still attending church with my family at the time and they had a large picture of the “9/11 cross” in the church immediately following its “discovery.”

    But the more and more they harp on this thing and glorify it and cry for special treatment the more and more I want the piece of scrap metal to be melted down. Your version of god just gave you a broken piece of building. Islam’s version of god just broke your buildings.

  • OverlappingMagisteria

    I love it when they downgrade their religious symbol by saying its not religious.

  • Erik

    100 years ago it would have been added to the museum as a sign from god. Now it’s added for the ‘hope it gave to victims’. Without weighing in on either side of the debate, the change in Christian stance shows how far we’ve come in the last century. They have to back-peddle harder than ever before.

  • Daniel Brown

    Cant’t (or are) the atheists team up with Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Wicans, Jaines… maybe even Christians who choose to bare a crucifix over a cross… and even Christians who side with the atheists, etc so there can be an even LARGER group of people against this? Help illustrate that the cross would alienate a great number of people.

  • Sailor

    It should be in the museum. It appears to have been part of the history of  he response to 9/11/.  A museum is exactly where it belongs, as one of many artifacts.

  • Sailor

    It should be in the museum. It appears to have been part of the history of  he response to 9/11/.  A museum is exactly where it belongs, as one of many artifacts.

    • Anonymous

      It would better be in a museum of religiosity. Hopefully that is the only place we will find symbolic crosses, bibles, and arks in the the future.

  • Fbab661

    This “cross is not a miracle, it is a crossmember. There were several thousand of these in both buildings. The miracle would be if more of these “crosses” would have stayed in place and the buildings not fallen down!

  • Anonymous
    • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie

      Honestly, we deserve it if we let American Atheists speak for us.

      • Newavocation

        Getting slammed for making reasonable and honest observations? Sorry AA does speak for me and many others.

      • Newavocation

        Getting slammed for making reasonable and honest observations? Sorry AA does speak for me and many others.

  • Anonymous
  • http://twitter.com/TominousTone Tom Lawson

    Imagine the guy that was in the P.O.W. camp with John McCain, the guy that was sewing an American flag inside his shirt. Then his captors beat him to a pulp and tore it out. Then he’d start sewing a new one.

    Imagine not including that shirt in a P.O.W. museum. That cross has as much meaning as the American flag to some people, has a lot more meaning than the flag to others, unfortunately, but not including it would be pretending that it didn’t happen. Would anyone object to a National Holocaust Museum that has a tiny makeshift menorah made out of hollowed out corn cobs? Should the gays, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romanians, or blacks complain because they don’t get a symbol in the National Holocaust Museum?

    Food for thought.

    • http://thefloatinglantern.wordpress.com/ Tim Martin

      Interesting examples. My first instinct was to disagree with you, on the basis that sewing a flag and creating a menorah are both things that humans did in the face of incredible circumstances, and thus warrant inclusion. The cross, meanwhile, isn’t something that anybody did – it was something they noticed after the fact. Is that a good reason to prohibit inclusion?

      I’m not sure. Perhaps what really matters are the people and thoughts that were “part of the story” that you’re trying to tell. The flag and the menorah above were very human parts of those particular stories. The cross may also be part of the WTC story. I think that may be the most important question – how many people did the cross actually mean something to? How central was the cross to this “story”? Ten years ago, I don’t recall hearing much about it, so I cannot provide an answer.  But I think this might be the right question to ask.

    • Peter Mahoney

      One pretty-good retort that I previously heard to your point that this ‘cross’ should be included just because it has historical significance is this: the ‘cross’ was only recognized/embraced as a symbol was BECAUSE the MAJORITY religion (including news media, viewers, etc.) recognized/embraced it as such.

      That may sound circular, but hear me out. IF there was a clump of burnt metal that looked like the Hindu god Ganesh (elephant head, six arms, 2 legs), it would have been IGNORED, thus never receiving the “it’s part of history” distinction.

      Thus, the religious discrimination happens so soon and so unconsciously that it is almost invisible.

      BUT the results are NOT invisible. The results: there are NO ground-zero “historical artifacts” that have religion-specific symbolism for Wiccans, native American Indians, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, Scientologists, Rastafarians, Taoists, Shintos, Sikhs, etc.

      Thus, the MAJORITY religion got to be the only ones that lay claim to a religion-specific icon at the time of the 9/11 tragedy (which I am ok with, since the news media is privately owned/run, and I don’t blame them for playing to the largest viewing audience).

      BUT now that the GOVERNMENT is involved (e.g. a congressman using his official government office to promote this bull), it is not OK for the government to just dove-tail in and follow the same tact. Per our US Constitution (and the many years of case law that it has spawned), the GOVERNMENT needs to NEUTRAL on religion, being careful NOT to endorse any one religion over others, nor to endorse religion over irreligion.

  • http://diaryofamessylady.wordpress.com/ Lauren

    I have no problem with this cross being in a museum. It’s something that happened so why not recognize that it happened?

    • Misha

      Why does it have to be a cross? Why can’t it be the Star of David, or the Crescent Moon, or the Darwin Fish? It’s offensive to all non-Christians that only a Christian symbol is displayed, while I’m sure there were many non-Christians that have died on 11 Sept.

      • http://diaryofamessylady.wordpress.com/ Lauren

        I’m sorry, I don’t get it. Was there a piece of rubble shaped like the star of David that gave hope to the relatives of Jews who died? If so, then include it! 

        This cross is something that actually came out of the rubble–yes, it happens to have meaning to just one group of people, but they aren’t taking any sort of meaning or recognition away from other groups. The fact that this one thing happened doesn’t deny the experiences of people for whom a cross symbol has no meaning.

        To me, it seems forced and silly to demand that we include other religious symbols if no other religious symbols happened to come out of the rubble like this one did.

        • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie

          Exactly.
          AA’s lawsuit is incredibly idiotic, and this religious backlash (where the cross WILL be given undue attention) is probably directly their fault. Just let the stupid cross stand somewhere in a museum. It’s a historical artifact.

          It’d kind of be like finding the archaelogical remains of a christian church, that included a giant stone cross. Nobody would say “Hey, that’s offensive to non-believers! We need a giant stone atom to go with it!” History isn’t what you want it to be.

          We can work so that in the future people won’t be all stupid about pariedola, but we can’t change the fact that people still cling to that kind of thing.

          • Michael Appleman

            It isn’t anything like an archaeologist finding a giant stone cross.

            The cross may be a historical artifact, but only in the capacity that it is a piece of rubble from the WTC. If that is true, then any piece of rubble would do. No need to use the one that happens to look like a cross and is religiously charged.

            • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie

              So we should take the Makapansgat pebble and throw it away.

      • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie

        you don’t really understand the concept of a “museum”, do you?

        All these egyptian stellae have these superstitious crap about gods written on them! Why not put up some atheist stelae proclaiming logical thinking?!

        • http://twitter.com/FelyxLeiter Emily Joyce

          OK…but this post is about a lawmaker who wants the cross designated a national monument, not simply included in a 9/11 memorial museum.

          • http://twitter.com/zeroanaphora Abbie

            Exactly. American Atheists escalated the issue by being total idiots.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps more befitting would be to create a national monument to the Constitution.  It could be made to look like the actual constitution only crumpled up into a wad illustrating how so many apparently could care less about it.
     

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Hendricks/1043378006 Richard Hendricks

    Simple solution:  Put it in the museum up side down or on it’s side.  If it’s not a religious symbol, then that shouldn’t matter.  Oh really?  It does? Nevermind then.

    • Peter Mahoney

      I actually LIKE that idea, at least as a tactic. IF they are saying that this is not really a religious symbol, then they should not complain if the cross is upside down. BUT they would protest like crazy “how dare they display our religion upside down!…. oops, did I admit out loud that it’s the symbol for our religion?”

      Good ploy on the theoretical argument (but they will never really display it that way).

    • american mutt

      Absolutely. 100% agree.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    “the fact that so many Christians are up in arms defending its inclusion just says to me that this is only a religious display”

    Atheists are defending its inclusion too, actually. Neil DeGrasse Tyson even defended it on Real Time w/Bill Maher. Yes, it is a religious display. No doubt about it. But that doesn’t change anything. It was a symbol of hope and compassion for a lot of people. We can argue that it was ridiculous for people to feel that way about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is apart of 9/11′s history. To reject it simply for being a religious symbol is discrimination.

    To get back on topic though, I think it would be stupid to make it a national monument. It is part of history, and to some people, a significant part. But it is not a monument that stands for American ideals. It’s not about liberty or freedom or the importance of law. It’s about Christianity.

  • Ben_zur

    holy crap mr atheist pants was right

  • Anonymous

    I don’t see how anyone would see this cross as a symbol of their god’s love in the midst of violence, death and destruction. I guess that is just how their minds work. What is wrong with dedicating a statue or a park in the memory of those who died? Not a “hey look, we found this cross in burning debris on a day where thousands died. This cross proves that god is always looking out for us.” It doesn’t make any sense.

  • Jonas

    If I were Christian I don’t think I’d see a cross beam as a ‘Christian Cross’ – and I think I’d be offended by someone telling me I should respect that National Monument.

  • Nazani14

    Surely, there must be a lot more pieces of debris that look like  runes, which also had sacred symbolism.   They should definitely be in the museum.

  • Anonymous

    If this is how they want to put it in the museum – by threatening a grossly unconstitutional act instead – then, fine, put it in the museum for “the hope it gave the victims” for all I care.  Put it in any direction they want, call it out for what people think it is, but it has no place being a national monument.  

  • Robster

    Do they want to stick a dead Middle Eastern bloke onto their cross like they have in all their buildings?

  • James Croft

    “The Cross doesn’t need to be in the memorial”. Good thing it isn’t then, and is happily ensconced in the MUSEUM. At some point you will recognize the important distinction. It is becoming frustrating to have to continually point this out.

  • Peter Mahoney

    I think one meme to point out is this:
    similar to other burnt crosses in American history, this burnt/charred cross is a tribute to the Christian hate group known as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).


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