This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Jan LaRue was published July 31, 2011 on the American Thinker blog.
Those God-obsessed “American Atheists” filed suit in New York state court on July 25 to remove the World Trade Center “Cross” from the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. They’re seeking relief from Cross-related dyspepsia.
Most people try Tums or Rolaids instead of litigation.
This is the same group demanding that Brooklyn rename a street named in honor of seven Brooklyn firefighters killed on 9/11. They claim that changing Richard Street to “Seven in Heaven Way” violates the “separation of church and state.” David Silverman, president of American Atheists, told Fox News: “It implies that heaven actually exists.”
They also filed suit seeking the removal of roadside crosses honoring fallen Utah state troopers. A federal court ruled in favor of the crosses but an appeals court ruled against them. The Utah Attorney General has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the ruling and the American Civil Rights Union has filed an amicus brief in support.
Their WTC lawsuit admits that the 17-foot “Cross” of steel beams was found standing in the midst of the rubble two days after the twin towers collapsed as a result of the Jihadist attack on 9/11.
Besides acute, hyperactive frivolousness, the lawsuit claims that plaintiffs have suffered
“dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center.”
Most Americans suffered all of these symptoms and more watching the attack on America. Apparently the atheists were asymptomatic until they saw the “Cross.”
Their press release admits that to them, the “Cross” is merely a “t-joint,” a piece of rubble. They are trying to convince a court that if it is displayed in the WTC museum, the government has endorsed its Christian symbolism in violation of the U.S. and New York Constitutions, and New York Civil Rights Act.
Where is the unconstitutional government “coercion” or establishment of an official religion? How does a passive memorial in a museum coerce anybody to do anything?
Admittedly, the plaintiffs have not been coerced into accepting the religious symbolism of the “Cross.” For them, “the ‘cross’ one of many thousands of t-joints in the WTC construction, is part of the debris found at Ground Zero.”
Memorial president Joe Daniels defended the inclusion of the “Cross” as an artifact:
“The mission of the National September 11 Memorial Museum, opening in September 2012, is to tell the history of 9/11 through historic artifacts like the World Trade Center Cross. In the historical exhibition, the Cross is part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the story of 9/11 in a way nothing else can.”
Other artifacts will include a Bible found fused to a steel beam and a Star of David cut from WTC steel.
The atheists want the “t-joint” removed from the museum, or in the alternative, they want more religious symbols added, including something that represents atheism, such as “the American Flag” or an “atom.”
Silverman said the group would “happily, happily, drop the case,” if the 9/11 Memorial and Museum either remove the cross, or add other religious memorials to the exhibit,” according to UPI. Silverman also wants something that “represents atheism, such as the American Flag” or an “atom.” How about nothing?
Here’s an idea-include every religious symbol that spontaneously appeared when the dust cleared.
“‘The Christian community found a piece of rubble that looked like an icon and they deified it. But really 9/11 had nothing to do with Christianity,’ said Silverman,” according to ABC News.
But in his press release, Silverman blames God, not Allah, for the 9-11 attack:
“The WTC cross has become a Christian icon. It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross. It’s a truly ridiculous assertion.”
What’s ridiculous is Silverman’s muddled thinking — God and Allah are the same and the Muslim terrorists, who shouted Allah Akbar, were killing in the name of Jesus.
Try selling that in Saudi Arabia or Iran, much less to Christians.
Even though the Memorial is not a place of worship, the complaint claims that because the Memorial will be largely funded with money from the government,” the “Cross” must be excluded.
A 2003 memo by the Office of Legal Counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice should prove helpful to the defendants. It argues that “the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment permits the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) to provide grants for preservation of historic structures that, although open to the general public, are also used for religious purposes.
Citing the 2003 memo, the State Department’s Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has contributed “nearly $26 million towards the preservation of cultural heritage worldwide,” including rebuilding of mosques, churches, and various temples used for religious worship.
Better yet, there’s the Supreme Court’s decision in 2010, allowing the “Mojave Cross” war memorial to remain on public land.
When the dust cleared over the tons of rubble that was once the WTC, the “Cross” stood- a self-evident reminder of hope, comfort and resurrection to the faithful-a “t-joint” to the faithless, merely a piece of debris among the rubble and death.
Likewise, the Cross of Christ was nothing more than a symbol of death and destruction on Good Friday. Two days later, everything changed.
The atheists want to know where God was on 9/11. He was in the same place He was when His Son died.