Atheist group files lawsuit to remove the World Trade Center Cross


NEW YORK — An atheist group has filed a lawsuit to stop the cross-shaped steel beams from being displayed at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum claiming that it is unconstitutional.

The American Atheists say that displaying the WTC cross is "an impermissible mingling of church and state."

The WTC cross was moved to the 9/11 memorial museum on July 23.

"As a public accommodation, the memorial must allow us (and all other religious philosophies) to include our own display of equal size inside the museum, or not include the cross. Equality is an all-or-nothing deal," Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, said in a statement.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) called the federal lawsuit, filed July 25, deeply flawed and without merit.

"This is another pathetic attempt to re-write the Constitution and re-write history by removing a symbol that has deep meaning and serves as a powerful remembrance to that fateful attack nearly ten years ago," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ.

The ACLJ, which represents former 9-11 firefighter and first responder Tim Brown, says it will file a friend-of-the-court brief backing the placement of the cross at the Ground Zero site.

The 20-foot cross was found by a construction worker among the debris of the 9/11 attacks on September 13, 2001. The two steel beams formed a perfect cross.

Since then the WTC cross has become a beacon of hope for the New York and the nation following the horrific events on 9/11.

"[The cross] is an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could," Joe Daniels, 9/11 Memorial president, said at the Museum ceremony.

Silverman disagreed.

"[It is] a reminder that their god, who couldn't be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross. It's a truly ridiculous assertion," Silverman.

The ACLJ said that they will aggressively defend the placement of this cross. "This memorial, a powerful part of the history of 9-11, serves as a constitutionally-sound reminder of the horrors that occurred nearly a decade ago," said Sekulow.

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