An atheist group is suing The National September 11 Memorial and Museum to take down a religious cross-shaped beam. The group says that it promotes the Christian religion.
Last year the American Atheists' legal director, Edwin Kagin, said that the display represents "a violation of both federal and New York law in that public funds will be used to establish the Christian religion on public land."
According to CBS News, this week the museum filed court papers to have the lawsuit thrown out.
President of American Atheists, David Silverman, said that it's "a clear instance of a violation of the separation of church and state in its extreme."
"This shrine is a cross. It was picked up, trimmed, polished, the word 'Jesus' was carved on top of it, it was prayed over in front of a church for five years, and then it was installed in the WTC memorial with no warning by a priest in a religious service where in the ground was consecrated. This is a working Christian shrine in the memorial and then they had the gall to say it's not religious in nature, that it represents everybody. That's not true. It does not represent Jews, Muslims, Mormons or atheists, and they all had deaths on 9/11."
Silverman said that the cross should be removed or the museum should acknowledge everybody who died in this tragedy. "We're talking about public lands, we're talking about public funds, we're talking about congressionally ordered public funds. We're talking about an 18-foot memorial, this is grossly inappropriate. We feel very strongly that this is an attempt to Christianize 9/11, to make it about Christians, even though it's not about Christians at all."
The museum has no comment on what Silverman said.
It's true that the museum considers itself to be an "independent non-profit corporation" but is it right to allow a cross with Jesus' name carved on it to represent all the people who were killed at the site? Why is just the Christian faith represented when many other faiths should be acknowledged as well?
In recent years Christians have argued that the law not allowing Christmas trees be placed in public areas is taking the joy out of the holiday season. But if one religion is acknowledged shouldn't every religion be represented?
Some parents also complain that public schools aren't allowed to have Christmas parties but can only have holiday parties. Is this really a problem?
Private non-profit organizations can legally put up a religious symbol but the The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is a museum that represents everyone who was killed during 9/11, not just Christians.
People claim that the United States is a Christian country but in fact it isn't. The US is a country that lets people pray to whichever God they choose and one religion cannot be set above the others.
Maybe the museum should think twice about the religious cross and consider everyone who they are supposedly paying tribute to.