As American Atheists Convention Goes On, Judge Tosses Out Their 9/11 Memorial Cross Lawsuit

***Update***: American Atheists says they will appeal this ruling:

“We will appeal. We’re fighting it. This is not dead,” American Atheists’ President Dave Silverman said of the ruling. “This is a place where religion destroyed American lives. This is something all Americans must fight. This is injustice. What could possibly be more religious than a cross? The only thing would be a cross with the name ‘Jesus’ carved in it.

How’s that for timing? On Good Friday and in the middle of American Atheists’ 50th anniversary convention, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts tossed out American Atheists’ lawsuit against the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and its display of a 17-foot-tall steel beam cross.

If you need some background, AA had sued because they felt the museum was supposed to honor the victims of the tragedy — and we all know atheists, non-Christians, and Christians died on that day.

When steel beams fell that day, a couple of them criss-crossed, as you might expect, and some Christians took that to mean a sign from God (why God didn’t intervene earlier that day has yet to be determined). If a church wanted to display that particular cross, they had every right to do so, but for a historical museum to have a display with the cross suggested to AA that Christian victims were being treated as difference from (and better than) other victims. AA offered to donate a symbol of their own for inclusion in the memorial, but the museum curators rejected their donation.

Batts wrote that the cross and its accompanying panels of text “helps demonstrate how those at ground zero coped with the devastation they witnessed during the rescue and recovery effort.” She called its purpose “historical and secular” and noted that it will be housed at the museum in the “Finding Meaning at Ground Zero” section with placards explaining its meaning and the reason for its inclusion. It also will be surrounded by secular artifacts.

“No reasonable observer would view the artifact as endorsing Christianity,” the judge said. She added that the museum’s creators “have not advanced religion impermissibly, and the cross does not create excessive entanglement between the state and religion.” She said the plaintiffs also failed to allege any form of intentional discrimination or cite any adverse or unequal treatment on the basis of their religious beliefs.

It sounds like Batts is using the same argument other judges have used to allow Christians to display nativity scenes on government property — by itself, it’s not allowed, but if its surrounded by secular displays (reindeer, Santa, etc), it’s usually permissible.

The problem with the ruling is that it still gives preference to a symbol some Christians found meaning in after 9/11. Yes, it’s part of history. But other, non-Christian groups found meaning and symbolism in other places and relics of their memories are not being displayed in the museum.

My guess is that AA will not appeal the ruling. They’ll accept it and move on.

But we’ll be left with a ruling that could be used in future cases: Go ahead and give special treatment to Christian symbols. Put a few random secular artifacts around it and you’ll be able to get away with it.

That’s a bad precedent to set.

Meanwhile, that sound you just heard is celebratory applause at FOX News Channel.

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.

  • WallofSleep

    “When steel beams fell that day, a couple of them criss-crossed, as you
    might expect, and some Christians took that to mean a sign from God (why
    God didn’t intervene earlier that day has yet to be determined).”

    Didn’t intervene? According to some, god was responsible for this, giving us only what we deserved.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-CAcdta_8I

    I say we let the cross stand, not as a symbol of hope, but as a reminder of the cruel and capricious nature of a petty god who slays thousands of innocents over minor slights.

    I’m kidding, of course.

    • dcl3500

      “…as a reminder of the cruel and capricious nature of a petty god….”

      You know, that actually sounds good to me, as long as there is a statement to that effect affixed to the cross.

      • WallofSleep

        Look ye not upon this work of twisted metal as a symbol of Hope, nor one of Peace, nor one of Faith, but as a monument to the Cruel and Capricious nature of a Petty God. A Murderous, Petulant Child that demands the obedience of Man.

        • dcl3500

          Excellent, now make it so. :)

  • dandaman

    Then
    why is it erected as a cross? All it is missing is the J man. Why not an X, or an upside down cross, or a
    horizontal cross? This is complete bullshit and the judge knows it. Pisses me off.

  • Yeager

    It really is pathetic to consider this as some sort of sign from “god.” If it is a
    sign then it is a sign that their god has abandoned them. Seriously, their god
    allowed thousands to be killed by non-believers and all he/she left was a
    pseudo-cross in the rubble? Reminds me of t-shirts that say “I ran a marathon
    and all I got was this t-shirt.”

    • WallofSleep

      “I lost my family in a fiery wreck, and all I got was this lousy piece of twisted metal. Thanks, God.”

      • http://www.facebook.com/rene.demonteverde.1 Rene Demonteverde

        Fortunately believers do not have the same mental set up like yours. Otherwise the world would be such an ugly place like an atheist`s mind.

        • coyotenose

          Kind of a pissy attitude for a Christian* you have there. Such an ugly mind in that head. Might want to see about that beam.

          And thanks for admitting that you hate the Constitution by choosing this blog post to comment like that.

          *Fairly typical actually.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

          What about the believers who are Jewish, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Jainists, etc.? Surely those who had loved ones killed 9/11 would not appreciate a public museum celebrating the symbol of centuries of persecution of those of other religions.

    • observer

      I would wonder someone found a beam that was coincidentally twisted and fused to be another religious symbol. I’ll bet you these superstitious Christians would deem, whomever the metal formed is truly at fault for letting the terrorists go on with their plans.

      And yes, I’m calling them superstitious Christians. I mean really, it’s just a damn pair of metal beams that just happen to be in the shape of a “t”. I’ve no doubt there were other metal beams that were criss-crossed as well, this thing displayed just happened to have been the most cross-like.

      The more they put interest in this metallic junk in an aftermath of a tragedy, the more I’m…actually getting chills over this.

      • WallofSleep

        It’s a form of idol worship. If their god truly did exist, he would curse them for such blasphemy.

    • http://www.facebook.com/rene.demonteverde.1 Rene Demonteverde

      Oh you men of little faith. You go through this world afraid of your own shadows.
      Even an innocent item like a crucifix scares you out of your mind. How can you even sleep at night with such phobias ?

      • sunburned

        LoL. Now that you bring it up. It *was* a device who’s sole purpose was to torture people to death:) I guess we really should be afraid when those crazy xians come bearing crosses.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

      God has not abandoned us. While many suffered losses of loved ones there have been good things that came out of this. Tighter security everwhere, from buildings to planes. Did you ever think (silly question, of course you didn’t – you don’t believe in God) that God has prevened other, worse tragedies from happening? Atheists are always saying, “our god couldn’t be bothered to stop the slaughter of thousands on 9/11.”
      You will never know just what He has stopped, because He has stopped other tragedies from happening. The shoe- bomber and a higher death toll at the other bombing that took place years ago, just as a couple of examples. God allows things to happen for a reason, but atheists will never understad that.

      • sunburned

        I think we understand perfectly the faulty reasoning involved in the arguments you are putting forth. Why? Because whatever happens good, bad, indifferent those same statements apply.

      • coyotenose

        You just admitted that the world looks exactly as we would expect it to look if there were no gods. But Christians will never understand that in their zeal to be exclusionary and judgmental in the name of Jesus.

        Tighter security is your example of good coming out of mass murder? You, Mary C. Kirchnoff, YOU just made the argument that it’s a secret blessing when children get kidnapped from school, raped and murdered, because then people feel bad about it even more.

        Jesus you people are sick.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

          I certainly did NOT say mass murder was a blessing. You are putting words in my mouth and twisting what I said. Where did I say anything about it being a blessing when children get raped or murdered? That’s all in YOUR mind. Unfortunately, some 3,000 died because we did not have the proper security measures in place. Perhaps at some time in the future 10,000 might have died instead.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

            Read my reply to your other message. The political scientists advised not to invade Afghanistan, that there was nothing to bomb there (would only hurt villagers who wouldn’t understand the intent, so would be a recruiting took for al Qaeda). We would have been safer if the Bush Administration had paid attention to the warnings. (He quietly and quickly pulled our forces out of Saudi Arabia, number one on bin Laden’s list).

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

        Some Muslims danced in the streets, but most condemn violence. The U.S. media does not depict much of the rest of the world fairly. Google: Muslims against “9/11″. A son of a Muslim family here in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was on Air Force One protecting President Bush!
        On the other hand, the reasons why some danced in the streets were clear to those who paid attention too:
        Most Americans believed the right-wing propaganda and pretend they were safer for being frightened, when the truth is what frees us. The U.S. media does not depict much of the rest of the world fairly.Google: Muslims against”9/11″.A son of a Muslim family here in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was on Air Force One protecting President Bush! If some danced in the streets, it was likely because the real intent of the attacks was to protest:
        1. The U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia
        2. The U.S. sanctions killing Iraqis who were not responsible for Saddam Hussein’s rule. (He was from the minority Muslim sect, remember?)
        3. The U.S. support of Israeli occupation of Palestine. Read what Jews and independents have observed:
        a. http://www.annainthemiddleeast.com
        b. “Dark Hope: Working for Peace in Israel and Palestine” by David Shulman who grew up in Waterloo, Iowa, a hop and a skip from here.
        c. “Fast Times in Palestine” by Pamela Olson, who grew up in small-town Oklahoma, studied physics and political science at Stanford University, and even going to the West Bank was the furthest thing on her mind.
        Remember that the war hawks had wanted a war against Iraq for a long time and would use anything as an excuse:
        http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm
        http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf page 51, page 63 of the pdf file

  • Drew M.

    That’s God for ya. He’s powerful enough to leave a structural steel cross intact after a destructive event that released ~7 x (10^9) Joules, but doesn’t have the strength to deflect a yoke 10° for a few seconds.

    Or vaporize boxcutters.

    Or insta-kill the terrorists in the first place. Didn’t he do that shit in the old testament?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      All the bears must have been busy that day.

      • 3lemenope

        They only defend baldies.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

          One would think an all mighty god could make exceptions.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I often wonder about the orientation of things like this, and other forms of pareidolia. Since none of them include a “this way up” symbol, it’s clear that people make what they want out of them. Perhaps an intelligence was responsible, but intended to send an inverted cross as message to show its opposition to Christianity.

    We atheists could adopt a symbol as simple as a straight line. Then we could look upon a world bursting with signs from supernatural entities.

    • John_in_Vegas

      I think it looks like the letter ‘t’ for taliban.

      • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

        After a bit of reading about it, I’m even less impressed. Apparently, some basic shapes, like the ‘T’ shape, were premade to save time and money. They were bolted and welded into place at the site. So, it seems like the “cross” was made deliberately, then used as part of construction. When the structure collapsed, and the pieces came apart, one of the ‘T’ shapes was simply entirely disconnected and intact.

        • allein

          Exactly – there would have been hundreds of crossbeams like that in the towers. That one of them survived is hardly a miracle.

  • DougI

    More special rights for Christians. Although we should feel bad. After all, a plane flown by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and students from the MSU science lab crashed into a building killing 10 million Christians in the name of Darwin. Let this symbol be a reminder that people of the true religion will overcome their godless adversaries.

  • Timmah

    The problem is that it IS a historical artifact because people carved it out of WTC rubble and it was shown on TV like crazy. I had a feeling that’s how they’d get away with it. At the end of the day it is a piece of artwork, nothing more.

  • GeraardSpergen

    ” She called its purpose “historical and secular ”
    I’ll bet I could find a photo of someone praying to it.

    • 3lemenope

      I’ll bet I could find a photo of someone praying to a jelly doughnut. It wouldn’t strip pastry of its secular status, either.

  • fsm

    I feel insulted. The judge said that I am not a ‘reasonable observer’.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

      If you are a militant atheist, you are surely NOT a reasonable observer. Smart judge.

      • coyotenose

        If you rant about “militant atheists”, you are too tied up in ignorant nonarguments to make an actual case, like neither the judge nor you did. Suck it up.

      • Pseudonym

        “Militant” is the wrong word here. There are very few militant atheists in the world. Proportionally, it’s probably about the same as militant theists.

        “Fanatical” would seem to be a appropriate word here. It has all the connotations of zealotry, single-mindedness and irrational obsession that I think you were after.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

          Militant is a wrong word, but so is fanatical. The reaction by the religious right to the lawsuit proves we are correct on this issue.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

        Atheists aren’t the ones bearing arms in support of their superstitious beliefs, so not militant.

  • Philbert

    “The problem with the ruling is that it still gives preference to a symbol some Christians found meaning in after 9/11. Yes, it’s part of history. But other, non-Christian groups found meaning and symbolism in other places and relics of their memories are not being displayed in the museum.”

    Really? The “Finding Meaning at Ground Zero” section is 100% Christian stuff?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

      Had they found steel twisted in the shape of a menorah or an atom (American Athiests symbol) as a Christian I would have no problem including those things. Those things, however, were NOT found at Ground Zero. A steel cross WAS found. Get over it.

      • sunburned

        Because buildings are made from steel crosses. It make this one not so special, they only value it has is *because* of religion.

  • C Peterson

    What are you going to do. It’s an ugly piece of crap that devalues the people who died, and devalues any monument commemorating the event. But it’s a good place to let your dog take a piss if you’re passing by.

    But if you’re a Christian, maybe it makes sense, since God destroyed the towers.

    • Joe Petersast

      You’re a fuc­king insensitive, obtuse, tactless c­unt—congratulations.

      Would you be spouting that hateful vitriolic venom if they’d found a living flower, a framed picture, or a jersey that said “I Love NYC” in the debris and millions of people found comfort in that (as covered by reliable, secular sources) and so it was put in a museum?

      That’s exactly what the crossbeam is. It’s the atheist group branding it as an official Christian Cross®, no one else.

      • PietPuk

        That’s exactly what the crossbeam is. It’s the atheist group branding it as an official Christian Cross®, no one else.

        You are either a massive troll or extremely delusional for this amazingly ignorant comment.

      • Carmelita Spats

        Joe Pederast…I find immense aesthetic comfort in Andres Serrano’s crucifix lodged in a bucket of urine…It is regularly on display in museums…The last time, a group of Catholic fanatics almost destroyed the work of art while on display at a museum in France…The curator left the damaged piece to show the barbaric, obtuse, tactless, insensitive, cunt-hood of wide-eyed Eucharist munchers…Just sayin’.

      • C Peterson

        I don’t think there should be a museum. I don’t think the event should be commemorated, or the victims celebrated. I think they should have built a parking structure where the buildings were.

        This beam is what it is- an ugly piece of wreckage. Leaving any junk behind is pointless. Leaving something in a public space that obviously represents Christianity, and without any reason, is offensive.

      • coyotenose

        That’s exactly what the crossbeam is. It’s the atheist group branding it as an official Christian Cross®, no one else.

        That might actually be the dumbest comment I’ve ever seen here. And I’m counting Mary “Mass Murder Makes Us Safer From Mass Murder!” Kirchnoff in that estimate.and RW “Ugandans Just Want To Murder Gays To Protect Themselves From AIDS That Straight People Are Spreading”.

  • Blacksheep

    The judge did the right thing, the cross is a meaningful symbol from 9/11 for thousands of people including families that I know personally who want it to stay. The lawsuit was mean-spirited.

    • allein

      I actually agree with you. It’s going to be in a section called “Finding Meaning at Ground Zero” and it is in fact something that some people find meaning in (as un-miraculous as some of us may find it). It’s not like it’s the monument to 9/11; it’s one part of a museum display. Like SeekerLancer below, I also have a hard time getting too upset about it.

    • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

      I find it mean-spirited to 1. Not honor the non-Christian victims of the attack 2. For a judge to determine a sign from God is generic

      • Blacksheep

        Nobody is “not honoring” the non-Christian victims. An action can stand alone without being guilty of omission. Working to save the endangered Siberian Tiger does not mean that one is “not saving” the endangered Florida Panther.

        The Judge did what he had to do to maintain reason and decency.

        We all know mean spirited when we see it: it’s the person who prefers that nobody gets their way just so they can get theirs.

        • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

          False analogy – in church and state issues the usual and more fair result should be honor all or honor none. If you pick and choose then you are crossing the line especially if you are a government or use tax dollars

          • Blacksheep

            That’s your personal opinion only. The fact that a group of fireman found the cross and set it aside, and it became a symbol of ground zero, make it a pat of the history of the place. Denying that is whining, pure and simple. There was no “picking and choosing”, it was an authentic, organic event that happened in real life. It was not planned or engineered.

            Luckily there was a reasonable judge on duty.

    • coyotenose

      And when do you make an actual argument for it, exactly?

      • Blacksheep

        Sorry, I don’t understand your question. I made the comment that you see, above, and that’s my opinion on the matter.

  • SeekerLancer

    I’ve had a hard time getting worked up about this one. As stupid as it may be, there is some historical relevance to it for the Christians who found comfort in it and from a PR perspective the lawsuit was positively toxic.

    I have no problem with it being part of the 9/11 museum as a secular artifact of the tragedy. If it were being used as a government sanctioned memorial though I’d take issue with it.

    Really I think it belongs in a church somewhere in New York. They’d never be able to decide which church should have it though so that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      it may not upset you, but it’s hardly “secular.” the fact that christians died that day is secular. a christian symbol representing their religion is not.

      • Joseph Stalin

        No, no, no. It’s not a symbol that some Christian group has created and submitted. It was in the goddamn rubble, and millions of people found comfort in it. Secular news sources all covered this extensively, so that fact alone makes this artifact sufficiently historical and secular.

        • onamission5

          People found comfort in it because they saw it as a sign from their god, and that is precisely why it is being displayed. Because it’s a comforting representation of religious belief. Hardly secular.

      • SeekerLancer

        It depends on how it’s used. If it’s displayed in the museum as an artifact then it is just a secular exhibit. It’s not there to preach to you or to endorse Christianity. Whether or not someone feels it’s a sacred symbol is completely irrelevant.

        You can find stuff like rosaries carried by soldiers during the Civil War in museums, should those artifacts be removed because they’re sacred to Christians? That’s just silly. Considering how much press the “cross” got and how much it meant to so many Americans I feel like it’s historically relevant enough to be included.

        But as I said, if it were used as part of a memorial then that’s a whole different can of beans. It would be using it specifically as a religious symbol and be in poor taste to people from other religions or no religion. It wouldn’t belong on government land serving that function.

        As long as it’s not endorsing Christianity this should be a non-issue. There is a fine line between preserving religious freedom and censorship. If we cross that line then we’re as bad as they are.

    • roz77

      I’m with you on this one. I get that it looks like a cross and that people view it as a cross, but the thing is going in a 9/11 Memorial Museum in a section that blatantly tells you it’s about Ground Zero. It’s in a museum filled with artifacts from 9/11 which clearly takes away from the religious nature of it. Anyone who walks in and sees it and immediately thinks “Well there goes the government endorsing Christianity” is certainly not a reasonable observer.

      • Joseph Stalin

        THANK you. Just because we’re atheists doesn’t mean we’re vampires that cringe at everything that even resembles the ancient torture device a Jewish sect believes was used to nail up their messiah.

        So many atheists being obtuse, ignorant idiots about this issue. It’s like complaining that the state is endorsing Nazism by showing swastikas on uniforms in a museum about WWII.

        • baal

          hrm no. for your analogy to work, the memorial park would have to have a museum with a bunch of stuff found in the wreckage including things like rosaries found in the rubble or maybe a crosier.

          That presentation in the picture in the OP is 100% christian symbololgy and it’s not part of a multifaith exhibit.

    • sunburned

      The title of the place is “National September 11 Memorial & Museum”

      The 530 million complex was paid for by private and public monies. Approximately 33% of that is with public funds. It will also receive 20 million bucks per year in Federal funds, one third of it’s yearly budget….

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

      It is wrong to have a symbol of discrimiation to those of other religions and no religion displayed that way in a public museum. Of course it gives comfort to Christians. Religionists have ALWAYS got comfort from making outsiders uncomfortable.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700851737 Sam Kay

    “No reasonable observer would view the artifact as endorsing Christianity.” It’s a friggen’ cross. How does that not endorse Christianity?

    • roz77

      I think the problem is that you’re just looking at the cross itself. It’s in a museum filled with stuff about remembering 9/11. That takes away from the religious nature of the cross, even though yes, it is still a cross.

      • sunburned

        You may have a point, however devoid of it’s religious nature there is nothing that separates that hunk of scrap from any other thing that people may have found solace in, like the neighbourhood bar or chow wagon.

  • http://www.dougberger.net Doug B.

    So it is okay to worship random parts of structures??

  • Chris

    I don’t know, it seems like the judge is right in this case. You say youself it’s a part of history. And from an antropolgical point of view it’s an interesting example of how people look for meaning in terrible events and of confirmation bias. It’s not even actually a cross, it’s two steel beams fused together. In a way, the atheist group is supporting the Christian idea of it, by treating it as a religious symbol.

    It is a shame that the curators rejected AA’s symbol, I wonder what it was, and why they rejected it.

    • Paoa

      “the atheist group is supporting the Christian idea of if by treating it as a religious symbol”.

      Bingo. It’s just a crossbeam, and some people found it comforting because it reminded them of the symbol of their religion. It’s no different than putting a Nazi symbol on a costume in a federal museum.

  • Joseph Stalin

    It’s a secular symbol, fellow atheists need to step back and try to view this objectively. The secular media gave copious airtime to the symbol as being a “beacon of hope for millions of Americans who lost loves ones on 9/11″.

    The crossbeam is a historical artifact, it wasn’t donated to the museum by a Christian group, it was part of the rubble that became significant to victim families, something noted secularly by the media and society in general. Just because it wasn’t significant to all victim families is irrelevant. I’m sure NOTHING in the museum is significant to all families.

    This lawsuit was akin to suing a federal museum for displaying Nazi swastikas in a WWII museum.

    • sunburned

      LOL. Seriously? The Swastika *is* a symbol of the Nazi party…those responsible for WWII. Oh, I get it now, never mind:)

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

      No, Joe. The crossbeam was given a Christian significance by observers and alienates non-Christians. The swastikas’ symbolism stayed consistent use by the Nazies, right along with crosses. http://www.nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

  • Megan

    I guess my question is, how is the beam displayed? Is it displayed indoors with all other “meaningful symbols,” or is it displayed outside like a religious monument? The photo used in this blog piece confuses me. If it’s displayed inside with the other stuff, then it makes sense to me (kind of like the swastika being displayed on uniforms, flags, etc.) If it’s displayed prominently outdoors like in the picture, then it seems a bit dicey (more like a history museum flying only a giant Nazi flag outside of the building).

    • roz77

      I think the picture above is where it used to be. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be inside the museum surrounded by a bunch of other artifacts and exhibits about 9/11. It’s not really saying “Look! Jesus protected everyone! Yay Christianity!” It’s more like “This piece of wreckage looks like a cross and many people were comforted by that. It has a lot of historical significance so we put it in a museum.” Of course a lot of commenters here don’t understand that.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

        Agree roz. The cross was featured in several iconic photographs from that day and is a recognizable symbol of that tragedy. Yes it is silly to think that it is somehow a sign from God, but that does not change the fact that it is a famous icon from that day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    I agree 100% with the judge’s ruling. The cross is included as an historical artifact in the museum part of the display. It does not constitute a government endorsement of religion.

    • baal

      in the museum? what part of it’s standing outside in it’s own set apart can you not see in the picture above?

  • jflcroft

    “other, non-Christian groups found meaning and symbolism in other places and relics of their memories are not being displayed in the museum.”

    This is flatly false. Precisely what IS happening is that relics of the memories of other groups ARE being displayed in the museum. This has been the case since AA filed their suit, and has never changed. I find it frustrating that the basic facts of this case are frequently misreported.

    /rant over =P

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

    I am thrilled about this ruling. Couldn’t have come at a better time. Does anyone else note the irony of timing of this ruling? Not only is it Easter weekend, but the atheist’s are enjoying their yearly get together of Jesus bashing. Sorry godless, we win. Again. By the way, had a twisted piece of metal in the shape of an atom been found, I would not have fought it’s inclusion in the museum. But alas… that was not found.

    • coyotenose

      Nor did you fight the urge to spend Easter weekend being self-righteous and judgmental over how the idol gets to stay up in defiance of the Bible AND the United States Constitution. You’re so humble and accepting.

      By the way, as a whole, you’re losing badly. The Constitution, freedom, and the American citizenry are winning despite your best prayers. Don’t worry though, I’m sure another “mass murder makes us safer!” argument will win the day for you.

      Fucking idiots, how do they work?

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-C-Kirchhoff/100000107492302 Mary C. Kirchhoff

        How is this in defiance of the Constitution? “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment or religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof…” A cross found in the rubble does NOT establish a religion.

    • PietPuk

      had a twisted piece of metal in the shape of an atom been found

      Hate to break it to you, but out here in reality everything is made out of atoms.

    • bickle2

      How about a new court case?

      You bring God, we’ll bring reality

      Your god, who is everywhere and all-knowing and seeing, will have 60 minutes to appear, prove its power by creating a second earth closer than the moon with no gravitational side effects(should most powerful appear we will allow him the 6 days), while simultaneously curing all cancer and chronic illness on Earth. After his feats of magic, he will then put down on paper his exact opinions and desires in irrefutable no-bullshit form

      If he doesn’t show, you’re banned from religion (participation, endorsement, any aspect that could be considered encouraging it in yourself or others) for life, as are all minor under your care till 18.

      How’s your faith? If you truly believe then it should be no problem. A simple contract will suffice since courts have a nasty habit of not allowing no-shows by god to matter, when it matters in the extreme

  • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

    The Panzarinos unequivocally do not wish for a cross to represent Frank Joseph Panzarino’s sacrifice unless it is a Lutheran Cross,” Panzarino says.

    Source

    So even one of the plaintiffs has admitted that the only reason they don’t like the cross is not so much that it represents the Christian religion but it represents the wrong Christian sect and that if it were a “Lutheran Cross”, whatever that is, Panzarino and his other family members would not have a problem with it’s placement all.

    Perhaps David Silverman needs to tell Plaintiff Panzarino that making statements like this aren’t going to help win an appeal.

    Benny

  • Good and Godless

    The cross is just a big sign saying “we kill jews” a symbol of hate crimes.

  • baal

    ““No reasonable observer would view the artifact as endorsing Christianity,” the judge said.”

    I dunno. When I see that picture, it certainly looks like an endorsement of christianity. I would even call it a shrine. Oddly enough, when I’ve traveled, the rest of the world has tons of shrines and they aren’t usually attached as part of a government building or thought of as secular.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ruth-Walker/528948232 Ruth Walker

    The Liberty Council comments PROVE that, contrary to the judge’s ruling and the museum’s claim, some Americans see a religious significance in the perpendicular crossbeams even though a huge percentage of construction in the United States uses them, while never using supports shaped like a Star of David, Star & Crescent, or A for atheism. To allow it in the museum simply perpetrates the bigotry.


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