September 10th, 2012
06:15 PM ET

Atheists continue battle against World Trade Center cross at memorial

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – Eleven years after the World Trade Center attack, the billion dollar memorial and museum dedicated to the victims of 9/11 is just half that - a memorial without an operating museum.

And though a dispute between New York City’s mayor and New York’s governor is responsible for delaying the opening, a separate legal battle is aimed at blocking one museum exhibit in particular: a large cross made of one of the twin tower’s T-beams that became a national symbol in the days after the 2001 attacks.

A national group called American Atheists is suing the museum to stop the display of the cross, arguing that a religious symbol has no place in a memorial that’s backed by public funds and that is supposed to serve as a monument to victims of many different religions - and to those who had no religion at all.

“It is important that it not be displayed to the exclusion of everyone else,” said David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, which first filed suit in July 2011. “This case is about inclusion, it is not about the elimination of religion, it is about the inclusion of everyone.”

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum says it included the cross because it “became an icon of hope and comfort throughout the recovery in the wake of the September 11, 2001, attacks.”

The case has gained national attention and has become important to many atheists and religious Americans alike. While atheist blogs and publications have pushed this case, spearheaded by American Atheists, conservative religious groups such as the American Center for Law and Justice have cited it as an example of growing anti-Christian sentiment and have filed an amicus brief in support of his display.

In light of all the attention, one legal expert says the atheists’ legal case is “absurd.”

“I think the odds of a court ordering the cross removed are literally zero,” said Jeffrey Toobin, CNN’s legal analyst. “The museum is not building a place for religious worship, they are preserving a historical relic that was meaningful to a great many people and part of the story of 9/11.”

Toobin compared the cross’s inclusion in the museum with the many other instances in which government-funded museums feature religious artwork.

“When the government is surveying a historic development, the government does not have to exclude religions images and artifacts from its displays,” Toobin said.

The 17-foot cross was discovered by Frank Silecchia, a construction worker who helped with the clean up and recovery at ground zero. The cross is a steel T-beam, a common architectural device used in the building of the World Trade Center towers.

The case hasn’t gotten anywhere since it was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The lawsuit names prominent government officials, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom play a role in the deciding how the World Trade Center site is used.

Caught in a funding battle between Bloomberg on the one hand and Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the other, it is unclear about when the museum will open. The memorial opened last year, on September 12, after families of those killed on September 11 marked the 10-year anniversary at the memorial.

The museum did not respond to a request for comment.

In documents submitted to the court, the museum defends the inclusion of the cross, saying that “the 9/11 Museum is an independent nonprofit corporation. Its curators’ decisions to display particular objects, such as the Artifact, in the Museum are not state actions to which Constitutional protections apply.”

In the same documents, the museum argues that even if constitutional protections apply, “there is no legal authority for the proposition that a museum is prohibited from displaying an item with historical, cultural or artistic significance merely because that item also has religious significance.”

Silverman rejects that argument. “The argument that this is not a religious symbol is asinine and arrogant,” he says. “They want 9/11 to appear to be an attack on Christianity, and it was not.”

Shortly after plans for a 9/11 museum started to be worked out, Silecchia, the construction worker, and the Rev. Brian Jordan, a priest who ministered to firefighters and emergency responders at ground zero, began to press to the inclusion of the World Trade Center cross in the memorial and museum.

“First of all, it is an artifact of ground zero,” Jordan told the Irish Echo, a small publication in New York, in 2002. “And secondly, it is sacred ground, for God’s sake.”

Jordan declined interview requests, saying in an e-mail that “after a careful period of reflection, I have decided not to make any public comment at this time.”

In the same interview, Jordan argued that the reason it should be included is because most of the victims were Christians - “the plurality of which were Catholic,” Jordan said. The cross was first displayed near the edge of ground zero, until on October 5, 2006, the cross was moved to St. John’s Church, where it sat on the corner of Barclay and Vesey streets.

Jordan’s efforts for the cross’ inclusion were successful, when on July 23, 2011, Jordan blessed the cross at a ceremony in Zuccotti Park before it was transported into its permanent setting in the museum.

“After a 10-year journey of faith, the World Trade Center Cross has finally found its home,”  Jordan said in a statement at the time.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Atheism • Christianity • New York • United States

soundoff (5,753 Responses)
  1. Joel Myhre

    I like the religious here are trying to have it both ways.
    "It's a historical artifact" when they propose why it should be included.
    "It's a religious symbol and you can't insult it" when responding to the critique that its just a girder and has no place there.
    Which is it? Do we live in a country where we can mourn our dead without Christians ramming their religion down our throats or not? Have some damn respect Christians, if you want to have a Christian memorial do it somewhere else. It was a NATIONAL tragedy, not a Christian one.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  2. DC

    I'm not sure where I stand on the issue of religious symbols at the 9-11 memorial, but there is way to much religious rhetoric from our politicians.
    At best its insulting to hear them pander to religious groups, at worst its dangerous.
    I would fight to the bitter end to keep religious freedom in this country, but we also have freedom from religion in this country. People seem to forget that. No matter what the religious beliefs of our founding fathers, they made it clear that religions needs to be separated from the state. If they did not, any reasonable analysis of the issue would conclude that a wall of separation is better for religion and better for government. Both can be threats to liberty in one way or another to individuals and each other.

    What the religious right seems to fail to understand is that up holding this separation is good for religion. Inserting religious beliefs in school for example, is bad news for religion and for education. For example. Creationist want it taught side by side with evolution. This is madness. Creationism is not science, evolution is.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      If you put a wall of separation between religion and the government will only extend this wall to be put between another two category and so on. It will be put between a doctor and his patient, between a teacher and a student, between a father and a child and so on. Anyone who possess the smallest amount of respect for others will not feel threatened by any religious symbols or speeches. And the same goes the other way around. Forcing someone not to talk about their God is wrong, forcing someone to believe in God is wrong as well. Respect others it's all we need.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      That's a ridiculous analogy.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb


      If you have a better one or have something better to say, just go ahead and say it.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      Actually you made the analogy so you're the one that needs to explain. Why shouldn't there be a separation of church and state. The early settlers came here to get away from persecution and discrimination from state-sponsored religion in Europe. So it was and remains a great idea.
      As to the comparisons to teacher/pupil etc. they make no sense – were you homeschooled per chance? Or maybe a Texas school.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • DC

      to atheistaredumb: Your analogies make no sense.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      When you start to put a separation between two groups of people, isn't that a form of discrimination? You you judge a group not belonging to your values, isn't that a form of discrimination. Is it what Atheism is all about?

      September 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Clyde M

      @Atheistsaredumb: "Respect others it's all we need."

      Forgive me if I take that with a grain of salt coming from someone using the screen name "Atheists are dumb." Can you define for us, how exactly you define respect and how using that name is respectful in any way?

      Additionally, the wall of separation is one of governmental policy and is nothing at all like doctors and their patients. That analogy doesn't even begin to apply. The point is is that it IS wrong to force someone not to talk about their god, but that it is ALSO wrong to take money from someone who doesn't believe in that god by force (e.g., taxation) and then turn around and give that money to someone who does to promote their views about that religion (such as funding a memorial with public funds). The wall of separation actually exists to PROTECT religious freedom by keeping politics and political influences OUT of religion and religious expressions, but the caveat is that religion has to then stay out of politics as well and not ask for political influence (such as public funds).

      Now in this case, I do think the argument is spurious, because from what I understand this is a museum. And even though I don't believe in the symbolism of the cross, I cannot deny the historical role this particular "cross" artifact had in the aftermath of the tragedy as a meeting and prayer place for rescue workers etc., which makes it museum worthy.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  3. piepie

    can we agree to disagree? only the holy spirit can call those to God remember that.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • cakecake

      I agree to disagree that the holy spirit exists.

      I do not "agree to disagree" (i.e., shut up and just let you have your way) when it comes to the spending of public funds on expressions of religious faith.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      So, it's no longer about an individual saying a magic prayer... Now it's completely dependent on the HS. So, if he never calls on me, then it's still my fault and I go to hell?

      September 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • ttwp

      God give grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • OTOH


      You proclaim your fantasy as the one and only truth, Truth, and yea, TRUTH - this is the epitome of pride.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
  4. Atheistsaredumb

    I understand and agree with you Toby, however Christians and other religion were not the only ones who carried out acts of violence, Atheists famous people did as well, You see it doesn't matter if your a believer or not, people are imperfect and we created an imperfect world because of our imperfections. No one, believers and non believers can bring this world to a better to live, what we all need is respect, the intellectuals should be considering themselves to be so and therefore should respect those with lower level of understanding. People should respect each others for what they believes in and no one should feel threatened by any religious symbols. Free speech is good as long as it is and stay within the limits of respect. There's no sciences or magics that can make this world a better one, it's only a little bit of compassion and love that will make this a better world. And most of all, understanding.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • DC

      I think you have said some nice things in your post. I respect people right to believe whatever they want, but when it comes to crafting social policy, inserting ones religious beliefs can be problematic.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Crafting a social policy is wrong and i agree, as well as trying to turn a believer into a non believer is wrong too. It is also wrong to try to make a person of faith to remove all his religious symbols and have him to hide in a closet because we feel threatened by his or her religious symbols. That's my point you see, at the end it all comes down to respect and understanding. That's above all sciences.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • DC

      No one is making christians hide in a closet. to think otherwise is laughable. If your embarrassed by your beliefs, which I'm not saying you should be, then perhaps you should re-examine your belies. If they are valid they will hold up to honest scrutiny.

      Christians are the dominant religion in the country, but there should be a wall of separation between government and religion. No religious doctrine in schools etc.
      The idea that christians are persecuted in this country is nonsensical. yes its about respect, no one argues that, but religion is not safe if it is mixed with government. Liberty is not safe if religion is mixed with government.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      DC i am not ashamed to believe in God, but i don't go around forcing people to believe in God either, and i don't like people trying to make me feel embarrassed if i say the word omg in a sentence. Pronouncing the word of God is not a weapon and therefor not a threat to anyone, it is a simple word just like any other one. Religions is only a purpose to use to find excuses to start wars, in the end who ever start a war and killing others don't have God in mind or doesn't pretend to do it in the name of science either. A sick minded person would use anything to justify a war, using religions is only one of them.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      And yet your handle is an insult. Smacks of hypocrisy.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Juan don't decide for me, i don't need you to do it for me, it is not hypocrisy, i say things as i feel them to be. Judging people is Atheism ways now?

      September 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Clyde M

      "People should respect each others for what they believes in and no one should feel threatened by any religious symbols."

      Question: Is using the screen name "atheists are dumb" how you display respect towards others?

      You can't talk a big game about respect while being disrespectful. It's rude, intellectually disingenuous, and undercuts any actual point you might be trying to make.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  5. GodFreeNow

    @Chad, Do you have nothing to say about the killings done by the Christian State of America? Or is your argument only one-sided regarding atheism in government? I, for one am curious how you justify this to yourself because it appears to me to be hypocrisy.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  6. DC

    To exlonghorn: great post!!!

    September 12, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  7. DC

    To Atheistsaredumb: So why is it that you believe in God, and what evidence do you have for that belief? Which God do you believe in? What proof do you have that your god is the right one? maybe zues, or thor, or any number of previous Gods.
    Do you believe the Bible is the true and accurate world of your God. If so, why does your god condone war, murder, violence, and the killing of non-believers? Is that moral?

    September 12, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  8. DC

    to Atheistsaredumb: I answered it but my comment was removed.
    Yes, I will answer your question. First, the bible is hardly an moral guidepost. It condones murder, violence, and killing of non-believers. The qu'ran does also. Second, not believing in things that are not justified would make for abetter world. A world where we hold rational beliefs, is, in my opinion, a better world. A world in which bronze aged myths are dismissed as myths, is a better world.
    I honestly dont have a problem with people believing in God, but it is when those beliefs drive policy to extreme positions that limit rational thought then i have a problem.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Helpful Hints


      Your comment was not "removed" - it just didn't make it past the word filter.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      September 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Atheistsaredumb

    Atheists are pretending that Christians and other religions are the cause of wars in the world. Since Atheists seems to be coherent with science, i would like the Atheists Community to provide for us collaborating evidences that their belief would give us better solutions for a better world. I don't think you will a better solution for us Atheists, since you don't seems to know where we're coming from you won't know what we're heading for either.

    September 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • DC

      I'm not sure what you are asking, but Atheism is not a belief, or a set of binding principals, it is simply a lack of belief in any God.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • DC

      please clarify your question and I'll try to answer it. Of course I can only speak for myself.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      The question is very simple, i'm asking for Atheists to give us some collaborating evidences that you have a better way of life and better solutions to make this world a better place to live. Since you don't seems to be happy with religions across the world You seems you be blaming every wars and everything bad in this world is all done because of religions.. I'm looking for some collaborating evidences from you to prove to us that your way of life is the solution to every problems.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      There are no tenants, there are no doctrines, and it's not a way of life. Your question is completely non-sensical.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Let formulate this question for a third time, i will try to your level so you can understand me. Whatever is consisted with being an Atheist, i would like your community to provide us collaborating evidences that if we follow you that we will live in a better place with no wars and other bad things that we are seeing in this world.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      How much fucking clearer can I get than "there are no tenants, doctrines, and it's not a way of life". Are you just unable to comprehend that atheism is a single stance on a single issue, and your question does not make ANY sense? There is no real leadership of atheists, and there's no books that are required! It isn't a religion, a philosophy, or a method!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Is there one Atheist in your community that can answer this question within the scientific spectrum of understanding, since Hawaiiguest is just another arrogant and ignorant Atheist that seems to be unable to understand the question. Next Please!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Wow what a moron you are. I explained to you why your question doesn't make sense, and you completely ignore it. Good job, you just confirmed what people think you will do based on your tag.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Toby

      We might have went to war over religion years ago but I doubt this is the case today. The US Ambassador in the middle east wasn’t done by the Islam religion, it was done by a selected few. Islam would be against the attacks.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Hawaiiguest you failed to answer the question and i'm not interested in pursuing any further arguments with you, it is a waste of time. Next Please!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You aren't interested in discussion with anyone, and it's pretty clear by your "discussion style", your tag, and your complete lack of actual honesty. Have fun with your worthless question.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Atheistsaredumb, please read Peter Bergen's book on Bin Laden. He very clearly and convincingly lays out the argument that Al Qaeda attacked us to weaken our support for middle eastern dictators and monarchies in favor of a Taliban-style sharia-law-based state.

      So anyway, let me see if I get this right...

      We no longer believe the Earth is flat, and have proof
      We no longer believe the Sun Revolves around the Earth, and have proof
      We no longer believe demons cause disease, and have proof
      We no longer believe the earth is 6000 years old, and have proof
      We have ideas about weather and how it is formed, and have proof
      We no longer believe flying and space travel are impossible, and have proof
      We now understand the physics behind rainbows, gravity, lightning, thunder, and fire. These are no longer spo.oky, supernatural events. It's all explainable, verifiable, and repeatable.

      YOU, on the other hand, ...

      Believe in talking snakes.
      Believe in 600 year old guys building giant boats and repopulating the entire earth
      Believe in parting the sea with a stick
      Believe sticks can turn into snakes
      Believe in resurrection of the dead without any proof whatsoever.
      Believe women were created from a rib.
      And this list could go on and on.

      And you say that Atheists are the uneducated ones?

      Oh, by the way, scientists don't expect ME to pay money in their honor every week so some guy in a staged ceremony can read from a 2,000 year old book, translated dozens of different ways, written by a bunch of folks whom we know virtually nothing about, where the facts and moral lessons are both flawed and contradictory.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      Thanks Toby, but it is not the answer i'm looking for, however i agree with you with what you've said. The answer i'm looking for is evidences that the Atheists community can provide us with real solutions to prove that if we all close down churches and the Vatican and if we remove every religious symbols, it will bring us peace and a better quality of life. I want collaborating evidences that proves that they have the right answers and that religious people are wrong.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Toby

      I’m not an atheist but I’ll try to interpret their stance from the way I see it. I suppose that most atheists agree with me that most religions are good peaceful organizations but a selected few give a bad name for the bunch. This small minority interpret their belief the wrong way and do so by caring out acts of violence. Now, if there were no religion in the world, this small minority would not exist because there were be nothing for them to misinterpret. Make sense?

      If the atheists disagree, please advise on how I’m wrong.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • fyi

      pssst, @hawaiiguest,

      tenants = renters
      tenets = beliefs

      September 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Like I really care about spelling on a public forum.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Toby

      Did I do good in my analysis of what atheists believe?

      September 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb

      For some reason i answered Toby and my post started a new comment instead of replying in this column. Tobe you will see my answer as a new comment at the top.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • fyi


      It is not spelling... you are using the wrong word.

      (Atheistsaredumb has some too, but I'm not telling... it's ok if he/she looks ignorant)

      September 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Atheistsaredumb


      Sorry my friend i'm at work and busy, you see i have to work to make a living and i may make some typing errors and i don't think i'm in a school classes right now. I'm here to comment about this CNN topic and as long as my point is made clear for everyone then i know i did something good. Glad for you if you don't make any typing errors.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      I can only speak for myself, since there's no doctrine to draw from. Religion, depending on the religion, is inherently divisive and creates the type of us and them mentality to easily move toward violence and oppression. Many religious texts set a large precedence for killing non-believers, and the peaceful part is usually the reinterpretation.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  10. Run A Mok

    Go ahead and attach a religious symbol to this museum. Perhaps it will incite more terrorism and create a new list of victims. To quote Richard Jeni, "You're basically killing each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend".

    September 12, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • DC


      September 12, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  11. correctlycenter

    Atheists, nonbelievers and believers of cults will not be judged by Christians, but by God. Revelation 20:12-15...

    September 12, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      According to other religions, christians will be treated that way by their god. Terrifying isn't it?

      September 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Spreading fear just makes your point weak.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • mama kindless


      Everyone knows whoever wrote that mess was high as a kite. Probably crashed his camel in a sea of bath salts or worse.
      My goodness.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • toxictown

      No one will be judged by anybody.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Grand Ole Party of Christian Taliban

      Yes another ignorant post by an ignorant Christian

      September 12, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Cq

      You're standing on the safe side, while those who disagree with you are doomed, according to your "Christian" judgment of that passage, correct?

      September 12, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      please research the history of your religion. When you do you will find that the book you quote as the word of god is nothing but the words written and edited by numerous humans over many years.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • DC

      Which God?

      September 12, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Scott

      Exactly Correctlycenter you see we muslims need to stick together. We know whats coming and Allah, praise be, will judge them...... What? Sorry? your not a muslim, your a christian..... Allahu Akbar may file infest your eyes and may your blood set like stone as Allah cast you into the poo pit with the atheists, the christians, the jews, the catholics and the cultists...... DO YOU GET MY DRIFT DUDE? lol...... It is the seeds of doubt that will grow into the truth of tomorrow. Education is the religions kryptonite...

      September 12, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  12. Daniel

    I'm an Atheist and do not agree with the American Atheist group. It's just a cross to me but it brought comfort to many in a time of chaos.

    September 12, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      And what role did religions play in the very attacks that created this need for comforting?

      September 12, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I am an atheist and I do agree with this fight. Don't get me wrong, I would love to have a "live and let live" mentality with christianity. But they have proven time and time again they want others to leave them alone....but they have no intention of leaving others alone. And they will use EVERY intrusion of their religion into gov't to justify further intrusions. On that basis alone every battle must be fought.

      September 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you give evidence of any government sanctioned religion?

      September 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Fenris

      I agree with you, Daniel. Let the cross be there. It in no way insults those of us with different beliefs.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      @Bill. The wording on the currency. The attempts by various states to have the ten commandments prominent at government buildings and courthouses. Attempts to introduce the creation myth of the christian bible (and only that one) to be taught as science

      September 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers


      It is not just gov't sanctioned religion. States have laws on the books that deny atheists the ability to be witnesses in trials, Herb Silverman had to fight for 3 years in South Carolina to be a Notary Public because he was an atheist. Christians in this country use their majority to infringe on the rights of others and then when someone responds to their offensive "persecution" and the victim card is thrown around by them when more times than not they are the ones oppressing others.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  13. deez

    Im guessing aethiest dont believe in love either then. Since its not tangible and you cant prove it therefore its a barbaric and stupid belief. I actually like believing that there COULD BE something that is larger than me. Im pretty sure that there hasn't been an aethiest that has traveled the whole universe and come back with proof that we are all there is, was and ever will be.

    September 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Juan Tanamo

      You don't seem to have grasped what an atheist is. It is someone who does not believe that any gods exist. So that journey would not prove the existence of a god.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      As an atheist I don't claim there is not.

      I just see no reason to think there is.

      The versions of god to this point lack evidence and really don't make sense.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Love is an emotion. And like all emotions, it evolved. We have pretty good science on it.

      Love is simply the presence of the neuromodulator hormone oxytocin.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  14. VideoGuy

    I hear a lot of Christian hating talk on here well why are you not downing Mohammad? Look at what was done to our U.S. Ambassador or does that not matter to those who hate Jesus?


    September 12, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • ME II

      ahem... links work too. You don't need to embed the video.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Amniculi

      Um....because this article was concerning a Christian symbol and Christianity. Go to an article concerning Islam. You'll find plenty of hate there too – mostly from Christians.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Clyde M

      "I hear a lot of Christian hating talk on here well why are you not downing Mohammad?"

      Because this entire story is about the inclusion of a Christian symbol in the 9/11 museum? Did you miss that part?

      September 12, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • DC

      Your post makes no sense. First, Muslims do not pray to Muhammad, they pray to God. Also, Muslims love Jesus. They believe many of the same things christians do about Jesus. But debating the theological positions of Muslims vs Christians on the divinity or positions of Jesus is another topic.

      To answer your question, atheist don't hate God, they don't believe God exists. Believing whether a man named Jesus existed is another matter. I happened to believe he did exist, but he was not God nor a God.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • HypocritesSuck

      so it's not okay for them bash Jesus,(I'm christian by the way). but it's perfectly fine for you to bash Muslims though? stop using this honorable mans death as an excuse to fear monger. Read my username and reflect.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  15. Amniculi

    Steak is delicious!

    September 12, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • Amniculi

      Oops! Lol! Wrong spot.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  16. Jesus Christ

    Who said I was omnipotent? I didn't. Where in the Bible does it say that I, Jesus Christ said, "I am omnipotent?" See, that's what I mean by muddled....you humans took a little story, mixed it with some myths from earlier religions and decided I was this all powerful god with an all powerful father (that supposedly turns hair on the head as well as beards white if you look at him) that cared about each and everyone of you.
    Have you looked at the world around you? Does ANYONE seem the better for my supposed existence? Seriously? No. You're all fighting over me, over them, over yourselves. You'll never get along as long as you cling to your dependence on me, because frankly, I just don't care enough to do anything about your suffering...again, for proof of this...I point out the last 2000 years of wars, famine, hatred, murder, lying, stealing, etc. Get it yet?

    September 12, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Shovel Ready

      Got it.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Amniculi

      How does a carpenter get into the Messiah biz anyway?

      September 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • ME II

      "How does a carpenter get into the Messiah biz anyway?"
      Trick crosses?

      September 12, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • shekar

      You try writing a sentence about Mohammad and surely have your balls bombed you scared atheists. Christianity has given you freedom and liberty to free speech which you dont deserve it.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • tuvia suks hindu racist filth

      @ Shekar. OK. Mohammed is a camel fvcker.

      September 12, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Sly

      God made it pretty clear that in order to get to Heaven, many good people will have to suffer horrific atrocities and be ridiculed and abused by the hateful and ignorant. I think He figures that the 50,60,70 years you may have to suffer allows you to prove your loyalty and is quite minor in terms of duration compared to eternity with Him.

      People who think God's failure to make them super duper happy in this life is somehow hateful or inconsistent with Christianity need to either grow up or get some education. WHat a bunch of whiners.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • sam

      sly, you are just a goddamn ray of sunshine, aren't you?

      September 12, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "God made it pretty clear that in order to get to Heaven, many good people will have to suffer horrific atrocities and be ridiculed and abused by the hateful and ignorant. I think He figures that the 50,60,70 years you may have to suffer allows you to prove your loyalty and is quite minor in terms of duration compared to eternity with Him.

      People who think God's failure to make them super duper happy in this life is somehow hateful or inconsistent with Christianity need to either grow up or get some education. WHat a bunch of whiners"

      Yet god never wrote those words in the bible. Men wrote them, edited them and forced them on the population. They were never inspired by god to write the bible, they only said they were. you are quoting words of mere mortals over many years. Congrats, now learn some history and come back with relevant thought.

      September 12, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Sly

      The first post indicated a complete lack of understanding ofthe Christian ideal and expectation of suffering, andas such, demonstrated complete lack of any meaningful understanding of the religion he is bashing. You all can thank me later for correcting and educating him.

      But if you want to introduce a whole new criticism that you don't believe the Bible is what Christians believe it is, you are of course also wrong, and simply blindly railing against the idea of religious authority and expertise because, God forbid someone else suggest to you what is right or divinely inspired because that might limit your imaginary freedom and insult your nonexistent expertise and intelligence.

      How the Bible came about through Church Cannon was a product of true scholarship and divine inspiration. I can point you to some good reading on the subject, but it might be a bit deep for you to deal with.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  17. Joel

    Reblogged this on Joel Peterson and commented:
    American Atheists are fighting for the removal of this steel cross that was found in the rubble of the World Trade Centers. Are Christians intolerant for fighting for its inclusion, or are atheists intolerant for not wanting it to be a part of the memorial?

    September 12, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • exlonghorn

      You're one of the few folks who correctly defined the situation. BOTH groups are resisting what each views as intolerance of the other.

      I'm curious how most Christians would feel if a crescent moon structure representing Islam were to be placed in the memorial as well.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Shovel Ready

      Correct. Usually memorials for large numbers of people avoid overt displays of religious icons if the people were of different beliefs. This is the smart thing to do.

      Christians who want to see that fabricated cross should have tried to put it in a place where only Christians would want to go see it, then no one could be expected to complain, since only Christians would be seeing it, it would be on private, Christian-owned property, and the general public wouldn't have a say in where it goes. Simple.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • exlonghorn

      Shovel, that's exactly where this cross was...at St. John's Church a short distance from ground zero. Nobody was complaining about this cross for the many years it spent on church property. Of course that's not good enough for those who feel Christianity should receive special acknowledgement..

      September 12, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  18. Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

    Only by Christianity absurdity of a Christian, Christian and pagan. Filthy Christian Captain Crunch dog. Filthy pagan islam pig dog. Filthy Randy Jackson dog. Filthy hebrew national pig dog. no dogs! who let them be out? Quran means nothing else but path of triple abdullah absolute quantified. please visit ahmadinebinpaid.com/blog.html and click on word Choice to open file. But turn virus protection off before.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      I am a freak.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Toby

      Why would you say that about your own viewpoint????

      September 12, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      Because I'm mentally ill.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      No. I am not freak. ID pig dog thief! Must be hindu pig dog.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Toby

      If you don’t think highly of your first post then why did you type it up in the first place??????

      September 12, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      Do not use Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism. ID pig thief!

      September 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      Because I am hindu pig dog filthy racist with carnal desire to hump siva!

      September 12, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      I am not Hindu. ID thief of ID! I google siva. Siva is fit! Maybe I be hindu for a while.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Amniculi

      Steak is delicious!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Christianity source of Christianfilthyracism.

      Eating steak is disgusting! Pig dog filth! Filet is the Way.

      September 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
  19. Chris

    So funny I sit here and have read religious arguments and atheist arguements. I will say atheist are doing what they accuse religious people of doing and vice versa. Its a shame. I believe in my Lord! Look up Spoken Word "Why I Hate Religion but Love Jesus"

    September 12, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      I love me too!!! But that doesn't make me your Lord. Have I ever come to you and told you, "I AM YOUR LORD" with a reverberating voice that shakes the walls of your home, or do you think I come to you as a "still small voice?" If you believe in the latter, then you need meds my friend. We up here call that schizophrenia....hearing voices and all...

      September 12, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Sam

      Worshiping Jesus as a god is still "religion". You can't just rebrand your belief system in hopes of shedding all the problems associated with religion. It runs too deep.

      September 12, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  20. Damocles

    I don't think he's a di-ck, just a guy whos story got blown way out of proportion.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Amniculi

      I think he's a guy that never existed. So any claims made about him are inherently out of proportion.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:32 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.