An atheist group has filed a lawsuit to get the World Trade Center cross removed from the 9/11 memorial in New York City. The American Atheists say the "government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state." Joe Daniels, 9/11 Memorial president, says the cross, which was formed by two intersecting steel girders found in the World Trade Center wreckage, is a physical reminder of the tragedy that helps "tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could." Does the cross belong at a public memorial? (Watch a report about the controversy.)
Absolutely. These atheists are "wacko": "Millions of men and women took solace from that cross," says Matthew Archbold at the National Catholic Register. If you're going to memorialize 9/11, you simply have to take it into account, because it's part of the story. These "wacko" atheists aren't thinking about remembering the victims — "they literally want history whitewashed of any Christianity."
"Wacko atheists sue over WTC cross"
Actually, they have a point: The atheists' "us vs. them" rhetoric is a turn off, but "their point is fair," says Amelia T. at Care2. "If the creators of the 9/11 Memorial truly want to honor the dead, they can't include only one religious symbol, even if it was recovered from the wreckage." Putting the 17-foot tall cross in the memorial might be OK if "appropriate tributes" to victims of other faiths were added, too, but "perhaps it would be best simply not to include the cross at all."
"Atheists object to cross displayed at World Trade Center"
Let people find comfort in the cross: If atheists want to propose some other "symbolism they can place some faith in," says Tom Rose at Gather, they should focus on that, instead of taking away something that brings others comfort. Whatever the atheists' concerns, the fact is that the cross serves as a symbol of hope, and "a reminder to many, even non-Christians, of the efforts to find anyone still alive" in the rubble. Honestly, "what's the harm?"
"World Trade Center 9/11 memorial cross offends atheist group"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
- Why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Save the world... by changing how you pee
- 4 simple steaks you can cook in a pan
- How U2 became the new Nickelback
- Does solar energy have a battery problem?
Subscribe to the Week