Atheists File Lawsuit over ‘Ground Zero Cross’
An atheist group has filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of a Christian cross at New York’s 9/11 memorial site.
According to The Raw Story, the group, American Atheist, filed the suit in the New York State Supreme Court. The group says that placing the 20-foot-tall steel beam cross, which was discovered in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center after the September 11, 2001 terror attack, is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as well as the New York state constitution.
The cross, which had been sitting next to nearby St. Peter’s Church, was moved to the National September 11th Memorial and Museum site this weekend during a religious ceremony. A Franciscan Friar blessed it at its new home.
But American Atheist says that because the memorial will be funded by the government and built on property owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and because it excludes other religions, it violates the principle of separation of church and state on which the nation was founded.
“We love this country, and our Constitution,” a statement released by the group said. “We honor the dead and respect the families, which is why we will not allow the many Christians who died get preferential representation over the many non-Christians who suffered the same fate. This was an attack against America, not Christianity, and Christianity does not deserve special placement just because the girders look like their religious symbol.”
The group’s complaint adds that “the challenged cross constitutes an unlawful attempt to promote a specific religion on government land, diminishing the civil rights, privileges or capacities of atheist Americans, agnostic Americans, Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, and all others who are not Christian Americans. Because the challenged cross promotes Christianity over all other religions, it also denies non-Christian Americans equal protection under the laws of the land. As such, the challenged cross is repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.”
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