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Atheist Lawsuit Against World Trade Center Cross Makes Me Want to Scream

Two days after September 11, 2001, a construction worker discovered amidst the rubble of one of the collapsed World Trade Center towers two intersecting steel beams that became known as the World Trade Center cross.

The cross immediately became a symbol of faith, comfort, and hope to the rescuers who presided over the massive recovery and to the nation at large.

The WTC cross is now considered an icon and currently stands as the emotional centerpiece of the National September 11 Memorial.


Until I started researching this piece, I was unaware that there was a movie produced in 2007 about the miraculous WTC cross. Here is the trailer of The Cross and the Towers by John Schneider.

An organization called American Atheists  filed a lawsuit in July 2011, after the WTC cross was moved back to its permanent home on the memorial grounds.

Apparently those two offensive steel beams -- which happened to collapse in the shape of a cross -- are, according to Edwin Kagin, the group's legal director, “a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land."

Adding to that argument is the organization’s president, David Silverman, who describes the cross as "a clear instance of a violation of the separation of church and state in its extreme."

If you visit the American Atheists web site, be sure to read their account of the legal fight. What I found especially exasperating is that the WTC cross is repeatedly referred to as "the girder set."

Fortunately, this past August, officials at the 9/11 memorial museum started to fight back by taking the necessary legal steps to have the lawsuit thrown out of court. The museum’s argument is that it is an independent non-profit organization and not a government agency. But more importantly, “the cross is an artifact and not a religious symbol.”

Actually, one could argue that is it both and that that is precisely what makes the WTC cross so significant.