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Published On: Wed, Mar 12th, 2014

Atheist group still battling to remove World Trade Center cross from 9/11 Memorial

American Atheists has threatening to sue if the 17-foot crossbeam found at Ground Zero is not removed or modifited to include an “atheist monument,” the National Post details in a Mar. 11 report.

A group of atheists is suing to have a memorial cross removed from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

A group of atheists is suing to have a memorial cross removed from the National September 11 Memorial and Museum. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The large piece of steel is in the shape of a traditional Christian and was discovered in the wreckage of September 11, 2001. The “Ground Zero Cross” or “World Trade Center Cross” has become a centerpiece in the new National September 11 Memorial and Museum, “a towering steel beam that became a symbol of hope,” the article notes.

“The overwhelming impression of this cross is religious,” Edwin Kagin, the national legal director for American Atheists, told a New York federal appeals court.

“We are worried about the alienation being suffered by atheists. This cross screams Christianity, but there were perhaps 500 or 1,000 people who died in this tragedy who were not Christians.”

The group is appealing a lower court ruling which said that placing the cross in the museum did not breach the first Amendment clause that separates religion and government because the artifact has a “secular purpose.”

Mark Alcott, representing the museum, stated that “The curators decided to place this object in the museum because they believe it was an important part of the history of this story. Rescue workers took comfort in this remnant of the building structure and they prayed to it as a religious object.”

Reena Raggi, a member of the three-judge panel that will deliver its ruling, seemed skeptical of the claims by the atheist group.

“There are countless cases of museums including religious artefacts among their exhibits and it’s going to be described in a way that talks about the history of the object, what is the problem here?” she said.

The museum is run by a foundation which receives public funds.

A 2012 lawsuit was tossed from court – more details on that case HERE

The World Trade Center cross, also known as the Ground Zero cross, found amidst the debris of the World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 attacks which resembles the proportions of a Christian cross. As it stands in 2008 at St. Peter's Church, which faces the World Trade Center site.  photo by Ben Franske via wikimedia commons

The World Trade Center cross, also known as the Ground Zero cross, found amidst the debris of the World Trade Center following the September 11, 2001 attacks which resembles the proportions of a Christian cross. As it stands in 2008 at St. Peter’s Church, which faces the World Trade Center site. photo by Ben Franske via wikimedia commons

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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  1. Intolerant atheists still fighting Ground Zero Cross, can’t enjoy ‘freedom to be offended’ - The Global Dispatch says:

    […] of this cross is religious,” Edwin Kagin, the national legal director for American Atheists, told a New York federal appeals […]

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