Just Because the Steel Girders Form Into a Well-Known Symbol…

The Onion, in true form, derides the 9/11 Cross by pointing out that, when steel girders bend into certain shapes, we see only what we want to see:

“On the one hand, it’s pretty miraculous that there was a precisely shaped 80-by-80-foot swastika found in the rubble of the fallen World Trade Center, but in the end, we decided not to include it in our plans for the museum,” said memorial spokesman Stanley Morgenstern, adding that it would probably be seen as inappropriate.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

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

    Kind of misses the point, but funny anyways.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      How does it miss the point?

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

        the cross is something that a lot of people rallied around and gained hope from. That’s what makes it historic. Simply just BEING a cross isn’t what makes it deserving of being in the museum.

        • Faerie Fey

          Not everyone rallied around it, not everyone sees it as a symbol of hope, and if it hadn’t been cross-shaped, it wouldn’t have been seen as a symbol of hope.  It is the fact that it is a -christian symbol of hope- that caused SOME people to rally around it.  If it had been an oval, tree-shaped, Kali-shaped, crescent-shaped, or star of david shaped, christians all over would be having conniption fits about it being included in the memorial because “it doesn’t represent us all”.  Some people only see meaning in the girders because they happen to be cross-shaped.

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

            Did I say it was a symbol of hope for everyone? Did I? Because I don’t remember saying that and when I re-read my message I can clearly see that I wrote “a lot of people.” Now you and even I may not agree with the reasoning for why they rallied around it, but the fact is that they did, and it meant something to them.  It doesn’t have to reflect the feelings EVERYONE had in order to be part of history. That’s just ridiculous.

          • Anonymous

            I suspect the point is that it was a notable event in history. Even if all the people it affected were of one religion, and even if the only reason it had any meaning to them was because of idiocy, it certainly did have an effect on a lot of people. Therefore there is some historic significance.

            The historic significance could be debated, but if it has significance, it has such regardless of any religious affiliation. The question then becomes, are they including it due to historical significance, or to pander to Christians? That point, I think, is debatable.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

          A cross is a divisive symbol of faith.

          Faith caused the disaster in the first place.

        • Dmacabre

          Who rallied around it?  Oh yeah, christians.

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

            why does that even matter? If atheists were all rallying around something that gave them hope during 9/11 I’d say that deserved to be in the museum too.

            • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

              The problem seems to be that so many of our fellow atheists are more interested in fucking with Christians than in building a foundation and groundwork for a better future for EVERYONE, including the deluded.
              As long as they keep their shit out of my government and my schools, I don’t give a flying fuck what they do. The last time I checked, the Separation Clause still covers freedom OF religion as well as freedom FROM religion.

              • Anonymous

                The problem here is that the 9/11 memorial was largely funded with government dollars and run by government appointees, likely making it a separation issue.  If it were private enterprise, I wouldn’t have an issue.

                • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

                  I’m not convinced in the least that this is a separation issue. I’m going to have to defer to experts in Constitutional law before making a final decision on that one.

                • Michael Gibb

                  Actually, the bulk of the funds for the memorial (two thirds of $530 million) was raised through private donations. Only a fraction has been provided by taxes and other public funds.

            • Aaron Scoggin

              The difference here is that an atheist symbol of hope would NEVER be let into the museum, as it would be too “offensive”.

              However, this is not a battle worth fighting, as it would just put off a lot of people. Let them have their cross, as long as we’re winning the real battles.

        • Anonymous

          I really don’t buy that.  The reason people rallied around it was because it was a symbol of a religion.

          Besides, I was a Christian at that time, and I hadn’t even heard of this 9/11 Cross until this issue came up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=605030290 Sally Bratt

    Unlikely. It was in the Onion.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

    All parody aside, This ‘Cross’ was deeply, and  powerfully symbolic to many Americans struggling to find meaning in a time of despair. I concede to them their symbolism, and back away slowly.

    • Mikeymike5918

      What about next time? And after that? And after that? You see you gotta stand up now otherwise christians and everyone else will continue to throw their religion at everyone and expect us all to “concede.” Assome people view the law suit as extreme I understand their point! Seperation of church and state is not to be ignored! We were founded upon it by atheist then as modern atheist its up to us to make sure we don’t start going backwards (fyi that’s exactly what’s happening)

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

        Lame “Slippery Slope” argument alert.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

        I feel our battles will be won through ensuring proper science education, continuing to have free-thought debates and lectures, and through demonstrating that our position is the reasonable, default position. It as a cause that will build momentum in this, and the next few generations. Attacking strong, emotion laden symbolism, associated with one of the most traumatic events in the last 100 years, will polarize the opposition and centrist hearts alike. Are we more concerned with actual people, or academic semantics, and principle? This is not a battle we can win, in any sense of the word.

      • Tasuret

        The founding fathers were deists.

        • Rabid

          The God of a deist has as much influence on a deist’s world view as the non-existent god/s of an atheist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

      Every time you concede one of these things you leave a legacy where they can claim (like Damon Fowler’s school) “nobody ever complained before”

      • http://www.facebook.com/chriswarr78 Chris Warren

        Mandatory prayer in public schools and public office, creationist pseudoscience, religious persecution of minorities, etc, etc. I’m all over that. I honestly believe that this issue is simultaneously big enough, and yet innocuous enough, that we should leave it alone. Take away their band-aid, and watch the shit hit the fan. I simply don’t buy the ‘give an inch, take a mile’ reasoning, in this situation. We will damn ourselves if we pursue it, and lose our moderate supporters.

        • Mike wayne

          I still disagree even from the view of someone from another religion this is wrong. We are openly saying that christianity is the better religion. Remember how upset everyone got about the idea of putting a mosque at the site? Why is this any different? If we allow this then again I ask what about next time. That’s the issue with atheist we are so ready to concede rather than argue and try to get people to understand. We need to start telling religious people no more! Seperation of church and state!

    • http://thegodlessmonster.com/ The Godless Monster

      I agree. We need to pick and choose our battles carefully. Any perceived benefit that may have come from raising a stink over this cross has been negated by the ill will generated towards the secular community as a direct result of this whining.

    • Anonymous

      They are more than welcome to take comfort from their cross.  No-one is suggesting that they can’t.  That doesn’t mean that it should be a public memorial that represents all American citizens.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019365643 John J. Ronald

    I have a movie recommendation for Larry Meredith, the documentary Constantine’s Sword by Oren Jacoby and James Carroll (based on Carroll’s book).

  • http://www.facebook.com/larryfiehn Larry Fiehn

    You can be darned sure if there’d been a piece of metal deformed into a crescent it wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

  • Newavocation

    You know if Christianity was a fast food business they would be required to pay a fee to become a sponsor and have their logo displayed.

  • http://oddboyout.blogspot.com/ oddboyout

    The Onion is genius! :D

  • Michael Gibb

    “We see only what we want to see”

     

    So what does it say when an atheist sees Christianity or
    religion in a cross or any other place?

    • Tom

      Not a right lot if it takes place in a Christian-dominated culture; and nothing at all if he attaches no meaning to it beyond noting the chance resemblance in a large randomised set of data to a pattern well-known to him.  Now, if an atheist who had been raised in, for example, a predominantly Buddhist or Islamic society and had never heard of Christianity looked at a right-angled joint in a pile of wreckage and the first thing he thought of was Jesus, that would be remarkable.

      The phrase “We see only what we want to see” is inaccurate, but it would be too unwieldy to include all the qualifications, which would probably make it something along the lines of “When faced with random data, we try to fit previously encountered patterns to it, and the order of preference for attempting to fit those patterns is likely influenced by, amongst other things, the frequency with which we have encountered them, our disposition towards them and our general emotional state.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592801059 Bastian Alexander Fromherz

    i find this pretty ironic, considering the swastika has been historically a symbol of peace, etc. for many eastern religions and culture. so if it was actually found in the remains of the wtc, there would possibly be a legitimate reason to have it next to the cross. too bad everybody always sees it and thinks nazis :/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swastika#Historical_use_in_the_East


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