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Steel Cross at 9/11 Memorial Site — Should it Stay or Should it Go?

Atheist group contends sight of steel cross at 9/11 Memorial Site makes them physically sick and should go. Others say it has historical significance and should stay. What do you think?

Whether a steel cross should remain at the site of the 9/11 Memorial Museum is now in the hands of the courts.

According to a story in the Huffington Post, lawyers for the 9/11 Memorial are defending its right to be there after an atheist group filed papers to have it excluded. The atheist group said it excludes those who were killed in the attacks who were not Christians. Lawyers for the museum say it has historical significance and therefore should remain.

According to the Huffington Post, the nonprofit group American Atheists claim that displaying the beam is unconstitutional. Member of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, however, say the steel beam, found by rescue workers two days after the terror attacks, was an inspiration and that workers "took solace in its symbolism as they searched for survivors and found mostly victims." The 9/11 Memorial Museum is an independent, nonprofit corporation and not a government entity.

So what do you think — should the cross stay or should it go? Tell us in comments. 

Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Grant - again - what is being excluded that is related to ground zero and being excluded?
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I.e. where is the damage?
Grant August 29, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Jack, For the record the "Ground Zero Mosque" is over half a mile away from "Ground Zero" and that entire controversy was manufactured by Pam Geller and he Islamaphobia. At this point nothiong has yet been included or excluded, but my thought is a simple way to display the cross without running afoul of the courst would be to simply allow other religious displays as well
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Grant - I would have liked to see this sort of thing incorporated into that big ol' park that is currently down there with all of the names. WHy is that so secular?
Grant August 29, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Jack... Did you read the complaint that I linked ? The atheists want the cross taken down What the case will boil down to is "government 'establishing' religion by the display. Generally the courts have held an all or nothing policy and it would seem to me the best way to keep the cross up would be to simply allow all other icons. Allow everyone to display their trinkets , including the atheists and everyone is happy ...except Jeff
Kathy August 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
To answer Jack's question, "i.e. where is the damage? It is explained quite thoroughly in the complaint. From the complaint, "47. The plaintiffs, and each of them, have suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross. Named plaintiffs have suffered, inter alia, 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 nonChristian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center. 48. As a direct and proximate result of the unconstitutional existence of the cross, plaintiffs have suffered, and will continue to suffer, damages for which they have no clear, speedy, or adequate remedy at law. Plaintiffs seek a declaration that the inclusion of a cross at the September 11 Memorial and Museum, in the absence of equal acknowledgment of those nonChristians who also were victims of the 9/11 attack, is unconstitutional."
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Where are you reading "exclusion" into my statements, Grant? I simply don't understand why elements that have no relevance to the events and history of ground zero have to be included because an artifact that very much does have relevance to that history happens to resemble a religious icon, and has been regarded as such. As stated a half dozen times or so, I take no issue with the inclusion of other religions' artifacts. I'm happy. You cannot simply ignore the fact that this crossbeam that looks like a cross is a very real, relevant artifact from the ground zero site. To say it doesn't belong in a museum of real and relevant artifacts from ground zero unless an all-inclusive array of religious stuff that is non-relevant to the history of ground zero is given equal time is PC nonsense. If they were trying to place a big cross in the museum that had no relevance to the site, just because, I would agree with you. Just as such an item should not be included because of it's Christian nature, Such an item as the historically relevant crossbeam should not be excluded. Don't you see? It just shouldn't fact in one way or the other.
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Oh please. That's a bunch of crap. If this were flipped any other way, I beleive these "damages" would be referred to as "butthurt" Nobody is excluded by the inclusion of a piece of debris from the World Trade Center in a museum full of debris from the World Trade Center.
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 04:37 PM
So, then do the atheists have a problem with the sponsored cobblestones on the Memorial? http://names.911memorial.org/#lang=en_US&page=search_cobblestones I searched for muslim, christian, lutheran - and they were all there. Athiest was not. Bottom line is that the cross is useful to some people, and those are the folks who will enjoy it. It's not for others. For instance, I'm a christian, but i don't find solice in scultpures. The athiests will find more peace with the fountains, names, and other parts. The memorial is meant to heal - I feel their complaint comes from the pain, but should be focused differently.
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 04:40 PM
I would say to them they haven't been excluded - the rest of the park is secular - there are elements of nature, government, sacrifice, and healing.
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Grant - I read a few points on the complaint, but i don't really have a penchant for legal writing. I see here that some are offended, some feel misrepresented, and others feel as though they're being asked to be christian. This isn't government sponsoring a religion over another; it's government allowing for diversity, which i'm pretty sure is that civil rights are.
Grant August 29, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Jeff... What is the opposite of "inclusion" So the religious beliefs of those that perished there who arent lucky enough to follow a religion whose icon happens to resemble standard construction techniques are simply irrelevant and they should have found a more structurally sound icon? Since "The Star of David" isnt generally used in structural beams those Jews that died there (and those that remember them) should just go pound sand? So , maybe we display just the upright beam. It's just as much a "relevant artifact" isnt it ? That way the government is in the claer and no one is offended by a secular display ..
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Does it matter if I really don't care?
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Right...I understand that. For roughly the 7,000th time in this thread, I agree that memorializing those who died via display of religious artifacts RELEVANT to the site itself should absolutely be a part of this museum. Display of artifacts of a non-religious nature should be displayed. Is this crossbeam, as is, relevant to the site? Yes or No? It was a very visible part of the site for nearly a year. Like it or not, it was one of the most recognizable pieces of rubble at that site, right up there with the makeshift flagpole that displayed an American Flag at the same general time. Now there's an interesting comparison...the flag. Many people of other nationalities died that day. Is it disrespect to display that flagpole, complete with that American Flag? Or maybe we should just display a flag from every single country that someone died from? Yeah...let's bring in a crisp, clean flag from every nation that someone died in and give it the exact same import as that bent metal pole and that torn flag that ACTUALLY FLEW at Ground Zero. How does that work? Look...maybe a display of every nation, every religion represented among the victims of that terrible 9/11 isn't a bad idea...Actually, it's a good idea, I think we can find more agreement than not there. But let's not hold actual pieces of history hostage in favor of political correctness. That's all I'm trying to say here.
Grant August 29, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Nice attempt at a Straw Man Jeff.. Just pulled out my Constitution and found not one single mention of the flag. Nothing about it at all in the First Amendment on which this complaint is based. Here's the Official Flag Code http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html You'll note it is usual and customary , and completely legal for it to be displayed by government entities and civilians as they desire. So , no legal issue can be made there and I award no points. If someone wants to whine about the American Flag being flown in America, they have the right to do so but no legal standing to do anything about it . It is also important to note that the wreckage was "modified" to make it even more "Christian -esque" as opposed to being an "as-is " artifact . There is no denying that this is a Christian thing I agree that twisted metal from the wreckage can and should be displayed. I even agree that this particular bit can and should be displayed with the simple caveat that , since it is and has always been a religious artifact, other religious musts be allowed (not provided with ) a similar display in reverence to their loved ones
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 06:00 PM
For the record, I tried to mark his comment as inappropriate, as it didn't make any sense.
Jack McClure August 29, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Jeff's, not grant's.
Jeff Banks August 29, 2012 at 06:14 PM
Jeffrey Allen wrote last Thursday... 10:40 am on Thursday, August 23, 2012 Let's not let this devolve into another pointless argument about theology. Totally not the point here. Is that what you really meant to say Jeffery?
Sean Gilley August 29, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Part of the problem with the discussion of this "cross" is that people of nonfaith believe that faith/religion starts when we enter a church and stop when we leave a church. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, that particular item of debris might bring comfort to certain individuals who visit. As for the physical ailments experienced by the individuals filing the complaint--most such ailments are a sign of some type of psychological problem. I suggest that they seek a good therapist to see why they feel excluded.
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Right...as noted somewhere up there (my first or second post, I believe) that the cross was modified, not by a religious group but by the iron workers themselves.
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 09:18 PM
That's exactly what I meant to say, Mr Banks. I'm not arguing the theology of the thing. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would seek to deny a piece of WTC debris from being in a museum full of WTC debris. Since most of us seem to be in agreement on that basic point, I'm not sure what you're trying to imply here.
Jeffrey Allen August 29, 2012 at 09:21 PM
"Look...maybe a display of every nation, every religion represented among the victims of that terrible 9/11 isn't a bad idea...Actually, it's a good idea, I think we can find more agreement than not there. But let's not hold actual pieces of history hostage in favor of political correctness. That's all I'm trying to say here." -Me, one post up... Posted again, seems to have gotten ignored the first time.
Grant August 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Pretty big difference between run of the mill political correctness and a violation of the first amendment Jeff. Jeff writes "I'm not arguing the theology of the thing. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would seek to deny a piece of WTC debris from being in a museum full of WTC debris. " Because Jeff, that "piece of debris" has been modified and changed into a religious icon of a single particular religion that not everyone believes in. The government is forbidden by the first amendment from "establishing" religion and displaying this religious icon on government property runs afoul of that limitation ... Of course all of that is in the legal complaint . I'm sure that there is plenty of debris to display, what's so important about this one again? Oh yeah , thats right , it's a religious symbol..
Jeffrey Allen September 02, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Right... If Grant and co had their way...a walk through the WTC museum... CURATOR: Here we have a bunch of symbols from all the religions of the world. Here's a statue of Buddah, a nice draidel, a plate of pasta, and...the best one...a giant Atom! Very important that you all look at the atom thingee... VISITING 4th GRADER: (raises hand) Ummm...were any of these things actually from the disaster site? CURATOR: No, but that's not the point. Not everyone who died was a Christian, you know. 4th GRADER: That's not what I asked, sir. I just wondered what this stuff has to do with 9/11, if it wasn't part of the site. Do you have anything from the site here? CURATOR: Well, we have this one thing, but we keep it in the basement because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. It was actually there, but...you don't want to see that. You might be offended. It's actually an iron crossbeam from the building themselves, but it looks like...no...I can't bring myself to say it, it's so awful...just look at the atom thingee that has nothing to do with 9/11. It's better that way. 4th GRADER: What, sir? What could be so awful that we have to keep it away, even though it's a real part of the history? CURATOR: (Wailing) It's...it looks like a CROSS! whaaaa! (faints) See how ridiculous that sounds?
Jeffrey Allen September 02, 2012 at 03:00 AM
"Look...maybe a display of every nation, every religion represented among the victims of that terrible 9/11 isn't a bad idea...Actually, it's a good idea, I think we can find more agreement than not there." Posted a THIRD time...just the part that keeps getting overlooked. Since we agree on this part, why the argument? I maintain that crossbeam that looks like a cross and was found on the site, maintained on the site and is one of the most recognizable pieces of debris from the site that it is a real part of the history there, and it's absence in a museum dedicated to pieces of debris from ground zero would be a very conspicious absence. It establishes exactly NOTHING to display a piece of debris at a musuem dedicated to pieces of debris. Like it or not, you simply have to accept that it is part of the history of the place. I mean, how far to you indend to go to rewrite that piece of debris out of history? Photoshop EVERY single picture ever taken of ground zero? It's not even about religion. It was there. It was found there. It wasn't placed there by a religious group, but a bunch of hard hats. You don't have to believe that way, but you have to accept the fact that it was part of the site. To take it out is to try to rewrite history. This is ridiculous.
M.A.Dawson September 02, 2012 at 03:02 AM
It all sounds ridiculous. What are you trying to accomplish here? You are arguing with a nutcase who has nothing to do in life but argue. The guy has no life and spends all day at work tempting other to become a nobody just like he is. You're right and he's a jerk. Why don't you let it go?
Grant September 02, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Rant as you like Jeff.... Again.. I'm all for it staying but you have to realize that it is a religious icon and if you want to display on government property you to ALLOW other religious icons regardless of origin. The government cannot endorse your religion and the fact that your religious icon happen be cleverly shaped like building materials has no bearing in the discussion. Why do you care if someone wishes to plant a religious icon next to yours anyway?
Grant September 02, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Sinple enough Jeff.....since it's just about displaying wreckage how bout we display just the upright? That solves the issue... you get to display your wreckage and the government is off the hook for "endorsing " religion Problem solved! Dawson, Calling people names on the internet is a pretty pointless existence. If indeed you have something to contribute , please join the discussion. I'd love to hear where you stand on any topic, with the exception of me.. Hope you're having a swell weekend chum !
SALLY September 11, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Honestly I understand both sides. It is hurtful to go and see a cross when you feel attacked by christians who think the problem with America is the decent from christian values. I think if christians were more respectful to non-christians, then athiests wouldn't be so angry. But not all christians are that way, just many in the, especially fox news. I am athiest but I don't find the cross itself is damaging my beliefs. Let them have their cross. But make them stop putting us down. Stop saying whats wrong with America is the decent from Christian values.
Jon Curtis September 12, 2012 at 02:10 AM
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin. (Romans 6:5-7 NIV) Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. "Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. (Matthew 10:38-40 NIV) The Cross does not represent Religion... It is a message of Undieing Love that anyone can connect to. Forgiveness. Peace. Love.

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