Home > Uncategorized > American Atheists Suit (WTC Cross)

American Atheists Suit (WTC Cross)

I want to cover two things. The first is the apparent misrepresentation of (part) of the case. The assertion I’ve heard most often is that the American Atheists (AA) want the cross removed from the museum. That’s not entirely true.

Dave Silverman, American Atheists president, 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.

Emphasis mine. So there, they aren’t expressly demanding it’s removal. If Mr. Silverman can be trusted, I can’t say whether he can or can’t, than by all means add other symbols of importance. So long as they are related to the site and/or the act of terrorism, include them all. Who would have a problem with that? After all, the reason museums like this exist are not wholly for remembrance of the lost. The bigger part of their existence is to stir emotion in the people that visit. Take the holocaust museum, to which I would loosely compare the 9/11 one, there would be no need for graphic displays if the reason were simply to remember the lost. The point is to stir emotion as well and what does that better than religious articles? Perhaps only graphic displays.

Perhaps a better question than “who would have a problem with that?”, and the second thing I want to ramble about, is why have the AA (only) gone after the cross? There are other religious articles included. Although the cross is by far the most striking, partly because of its size (partly because it would tend to impact the largest group of people). Among the others are a bible found fused to a piece of rubble and a Star of David created from WTC Steel. I would say not much, if anything that would or could have an emotional impact on people has been excluded. (that’s not an exhaustive list of 2)

Perhaps instead of suing, and claiming all kinds of imaginary damages, the AA should have commissioned an all faiths (and “unfaiths” as it were) piece to be displayed with everything else. I’m sure they would have no shortage of donors from all religions (and irreligions). It would also ensure that everyone under the sun would be included in some way.

However I’m not sure that is the real goal. I am, on occasion, surprised though. This may be one of those times. I’d love to see a piece included with a plethora of symbols to represent every faith and creed of every person who died that day, made from WTC Steel of course, otherwise it’s pointless and contrary to the idea of the museum.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. 2011/09/05 at 20:37

    What I don’t get about this lawsuit, and perhaps you could fill me in, is how they expect to produce other 9-11 paradolia objects to represent other religions.

    It’s not mystery how the WTC cross was created – an easy accident with so many crossbeams in the two buildings. Still, people latched onto it as some kind of religious sign and it makes perfect sense to preserve it in a museum because it got so much attention. I don’t see how a star of david was formed the same, and it would be incredible if one had been, but it seems entirely unreasonable to pretend anyone was harmed by preserving this metal formation in a museum.

  2. 2011/09/05 at 20:53

    I thought the lawsuit was first prompted by the museum’s refusal of permission to display an atheist symbol along with the other religious symbols.

  3. 2011/09/05 at 20:57

    I don’t get it either. However, the Star of David was created as a symbol FROM steel from the site. It’s as much a symbol as the USS New York, a ship that contains steel in its bow from the wreck.

    I get your point though, it’s not quite on the same level as a piece of rubble that happens to be in a recognizable and symbolic form. Perhaps not as germane, but worthy none the less.

    What they think to be their lynch pin is the fact that the AA offered to donate “atheistic things” (I can’t remember what, a statue and some other stuff) to be on display as well.

    Unfortunately none of these things had any connection to the tragedy outside of the fact that atheists died as well. Which is sad, but there don’t seem to be any copies of Dawkins books or a bust of Christopher Hitchens or other such things fused to pieces of rubble to display.

  4. 2011/09/05 at 20:59

    In part Mary, but like I said, none of the things offered for donation had any relation to the event or the rescuers and such.

  5. 2011/09/06 at 08:41

    Perhaps they could include the crossbeam formed image of Richard Dawkins that atheists rallied to for comfort soon after the attacks?

  6. 2011/09/07 at 16:20

    They offered to donate an atomic symbol to the museum. It also happens to be the group’s logo, making it a little gaudy, but it does hold a bigger representation than to this particular organization.

    This museum does not compare with Holocaust museums. People who died in Nazi Germany were attacked specifically because of who they were – gays, Jews, Gypsies, etc. Those in the Twin Towers were attacked because they are from the strongest nation in the West, not because of their personal identities or beliefs. Beyond that, the best we can say in order to connect everyone who died 10 years ago is that they were largely not Muslim. But even that only gets us so far.

    The point of including the cross in the museum is to promote Christianity. If it was that Christians were specifically targeted, then sure, it’s very similar to the rationale beyond the Holocaust, so let’s include Christian symbols. But that isn’t the case.

    It’s perfectly plausible that an atheist “A” could have been formed in the rubble. Imagine the uproar in trying to include that. We would see lawsuits from major Christian groups, complaints from Republicans in Congress, and as a last-ditch effort attempts to at least put the display somewhere out of sight. You know that’s true.

    If the point of the cross display is to represent the fallen, then the AA have a perfectly valid case in asking that they be allowed to represent all the atheists who died that day.

  7. 2011/09/07 at 16:48

    They would have a solid case if they had something related to the site or a survivor or something, they don’t or they haven’t put in the work to find something.

    The point of the Holocaust museum is to represent a large scale tragedy with items, stories and memorabilia from or relating to the holocaust. I don’t see that museum with a giant cross donated by the Vatican to represent the priests killed or any other unrelated item to merely represent a segment of the population murdered.

    Again, there are other symbols of other religions included, things with a connection.

    And in response to the end bit of your comment, I don’t know and neither do you, what would happen if there was a legitimate artifact of atheistic importance. Care to note which fallacy you exhibited with that one?

  8. 2011/09/07 at 17:05

    I believe they take the symbol to represent humanity, but I’m sure it would be trivial to find someone who died in those attacks who was known to be an atheist.

    You raised the question about who would care. We know when symbols from outside Judaism and Christianity are included in displays, there is almost always an outcry. It happened with the Mosque that was to be built near the sacred, 9/11-honoring pizza joints. We’ve seen atheist displays torn down on the public steps of capitol buildings (Washington, I believe). We’ve seen bus companies refuse to allow atheist ads. It happens routinely. We know the reaction that happens when atheists become visible. It is not a secret.

  9. 2011/09/07 at 18:07

    We know that companies refuse to run christian ads and we know of many occasions where Christian, Jewish and Muslim symbols or buildings have been defaced or town down, do we not?

    With that said, such occurrences are far from foregone conclusions.

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