Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Atheist Group Sues Over Placement of Ground Zero Cross In 9/11 Memorial

On Saturday, according to NBC New York, the so-called World Trade Center cross was moved from its temporary location near St. Peters Roman Catholic Church to the nearby site of the former Twin Towers where it will become part of the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. The 20-foot high, 2 ton, twisted cross-shaped steel beams were found in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the days after their destruction, and the cross has become a religious icon to many. However, on Monday, American Atheists announced that they had filed a lawsuit in state court in New York seeking to enjoin the display of the cross in the September 11 Memorial and Museum until equal space is granted to non-Christian Americans for similar memorials. The complaint (full text) in American Atheists, Inc. v. Port Authority or New York and New Jersey, (NY Co. Sup. Ct., filed 7/25/2011), contends that the installation of the cross violates the Establishment Clause as well as various New York constitutional and statutory provisions.  Museum officials say the cross has become part of the Memorial and Museum not because of its religious symbolism, but because it is part of the history of Ground Zero. They say that steel girders made into other crosses, stars of David and possibly some Eastern religious symbols will also become part of the Museum.