The activist group American Atheists is figthing to eliminate a historical symbol of faith for the majority of Americans. American Atheists will argue on Thursday to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to have a steel beam cross that was found in the wreckage of the World Trade Center removed from the 9/11 museum that is set to open in May 2014.
The group filed the lawsuit in July 2011, stating that the cross made their plaintiffs suffer “inter alia, dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish.”
However, federal judge Deborah Batts ruled that the cross could remain displayed, seeing as it helped “demonstrate how those at Ground Zero coped with the devastation they witnessed.”
President and CEO of the museum Joseph Daniel claims that regardless of religion, the cross played a part in the day and must be displayed to accurately commemorate the tragedy in the museum.
“To have a piece of the history that provided some spirituality, some faith, some respite in the midst of all this, if we didn’t have that we really wouldn’t be telling the story as it happened,” Daniel said.
The man credited with finding the cross, construction worker Frank Silecchia, agrees with this testament and said that the cross rallied first responders.
“I was already working 12 hours. I was quite weary and the cross comforted me,” Silecchia said on the TODAY show. “I never stood here before any media and said it’s about religion, but I say it’s about faith — the faith that was crushed on 9/11.”
However, American Atheists president David Silverman seems intent on denying the cross any historical significance.
Silverman claimed that the cross is “neither artifact nor art — it is a Christian shrine, made to service Christians and place Christianity above others at the memorial.”
The activist also explained to the TODAY show that “if you take the religion away from the cross, you’ve got scrap metal.”
Apparently atheists are bothered by scrap metal too then.