July 26th, 2011
04:56 AM ET

Atheist group wants to stop World Trade Center cross

A group of atheists has filed a lawsuit to stop the display of the World Trade Center cross at a memorial of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The "government enshrinement of the cross was an impermissible mingling of church and state," the American Atheists say in a press statement.

The group says it filed the lawsuit this week in state court in New York and posted a copy of the lawsuit on its website.

The lawsuit names many defendants, including the state of New Jersey, the city of New York , New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 9/11 • Atheism • New York

soundoff (554 Responses)
  1. Awkward Situations

    This is so silly. What is so special about finding a "cross" amidst the rubble of buildings that were built using BEAMS PERPENDICULAR TO EACH OTHER?

    July 26, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  2. J.W

    Christians rule. Atheists drool. Lets see if that starts any interesting comments

    July 26, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  3. J.W

    ok my comments are disappearing now

    July 26, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  4. snow

    I agree. It is wrong of this group to file a lawsuit to stop a cross from being put on that site. BUT, it was not just Christians who died in that horrible attack. Why don't you put a star of David, the OM of Hinduism, etc as well along with the cross? Why the partiality?

    July 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
  5. trixter62

    I truly cannot understand why something someone does not believe in, bothers them so much! Anything I don't believe in has no place in my mind or heart and would be chalked up as useless and unthought of! Simply a waste of my time if I did not believe in it. Maybe non-believers have nothing else to do with their time, so they just as soon waste it on something they don't believe in! just sayin!

    July 26, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • snow

      Why do you let it bother you so much? why cant you say "meh! let them yap whatever they want! I am off to the church now"! The fact of the matter is, you are bothered about what they say in the same way as they are. Because you are frustrated that you can not save your own soul without converting others.. and they just cannot help but hear a fairytale and snicker about it. That again bothers you!.. Meh! too much botherings all around!

      July 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Laughing

      You're an idiot. Most of the of time stuff I don't believe is real (unicorns, leprachauns, ect...) isn't a problem nor does it affect my daily life, however when religion sticks its ugly nose into places it doesn't belong (gay rights, abortion, ect...) all of a udden ridiculousness like an as.shole in the sky who's telepathically communicating with people on earth and giving them instructions, I start to give it some thought. Would you start caring a lot if a schitzophrenic started making laws in the governement because his friend (who you couldn't see ) told him too? I'm sure you would start caring a lot more.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  6. Bonnie

    America was set up by Christians. All the theists and deists and Christians got Bible education in founding the nation. There were no pagans or atheists who contributed to building this nation and to the good operation of it. The cross must be remained.

    July 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
    • Charge Nurse Betty

      Prove it.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
  7. cgoofies

    Who cares what you Nazi Athiest's think. This Cross is not soely for Christians, it is a symbol of relief, safety, and an image that has been around for ages. This was one of the most important events in USA History, and we need to remember. What have Athiest ever Honored or have done in history, absolutely nothing, becasue you have no beliefs except to interfere with other people. I guess you could promote smoking in our children, or try to make it ok for people to be on drugs. That is how you sound. And for your little law suit file, I am so ashamed and sad that you try to even once compare yourself to the heroes of our great Nation. I can't recognise you as any type of legitimate group.

    July 26, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      Thomas Jefferson
      Benjamin Franklin
      Thomas Paine
      James Madison
      Abraham Lincoln
      Edgar Allen Poe
      William Howard Taft
      Elizabeth Cady Stanton
      Susan B. Anthony
      Mark Twain
      Walt Whitman
      Andrew Carnegie
      Thomas Edison
      Clarence Darrow
      Katherine Hepburn
      H.P. Lovecraft
      Frank Lloyd Wright
      Earnest Hemmingway
      Gene Kelly
      Isaac Asimov
      George Orwell
      Howard Hughes
      George Carlin
      Barry White
      Frank Zappa
      Julia Sweeney

      Yep, those evil, horrible atheists (and agnostics) have done absolutely nothing for our country and only seek to drag it into the gutter! Because the world is simple and everyone is either all good or all bad!

      July 26, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  8. SkepticalSeeker

    How convenient for Christians that their symbol is very likely to be seen in the rubble of a building... The cross does not represent all those who died in or were affected by the tragedy of 911, any more than a Jewish soldier should have his grave marked by a Christian cross.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The thing is that it did represent a bunch of folks that found peace and comfort. Because it did it became a peace of history. I could see if the government required you to pray to God at this cross. That would be the state forcing a faith. The addition of this item does not require such.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • Fred Ferdinander

      To some, it is comfort Mark. But to others, it is an affront to their religion (or lack there of). Why must Christianity insist that they are so important that they should be allowed to disrespect others? Why can't they peacefully coexist and accept a neutral symbol that embraces all instead of one that excludes all others?

      July 26, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Ron

      @ Fred,
      Because Christianity has nothing to do with coexisting with other religions. It's based on their belief that they and they alone are the only 'true' religion. Everything else is false. My comment reflects more of the Evangel Christians outlook but other Christians don't all see it this way.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      test... my messages are blocked on this

      July 27, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Fred- Sorry, I could not respond on my iTouch earlier.

      “To some, it is comfort Mark. But to others, it is an affront to their religion (or lack there of). ”

      Then who do we bend too? Those that found comfort or those that found disdain? You ask why can people not co-exist and accept a neutral symbol. While I am all for co-existing, I am not for co-exisiting by losing what makes us a diverse society. What makes us great is that we are a society of multi-cultures... not a universal and neutral one. For a few Atheist I have met on this blog, for the past year, I have found ones that I am glad are part of society. In some ways I would rather be stuck on a island with them than a few Christians that I have met. What I fear is that your hoping for a universal symbol will diminish all the great and unique folks in society.

      It would have us one step closer to that Apple commercial where everyone is wearing gray and setting in front of a huge tv screen.

      I want the symbol of a America to be each of us as unique individuals standing as one.

      July 27, 2011 at 1:45 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      @Mark from Middle River, the only people who find comfort in the shape of the cross are Christians. We don’t need to bend to anyone. Our flag is the symbol of our nation and our diversity. We need to bear in mind the symbols we use on this space because not everyone who died was Christian. A cross suggests this and is disrespectful to those of other faiths. Or lack of faith.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  9. kels

    I don't understand– what is a troll?

    July 26, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  10. nacholibre

    How little does this group know about what "Separation of Church and State" means. It simply means that the government cannot force you to believe in a religion. It does not mean that if you are a public figure you have no right to display your beliefs. Just like the people getting mad at Rick Perry for the prayer rally. He can pray if he wants, and he's not forcing anyone to go.

    July 26, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  11. Pete

    ok....so atheists do not believe in God. I can accept that. But they also spout that others should not believe in God. I don't get that! If you do not believe, then go on not believing. Let those who do believe in what they want to – isn't that a freedom of religion the First Amendment gave us?

    July 26, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Kyle

      No one ever said you can't be Christian or use the cross as a holy symbol. Atheist are upset because the U.S. government is sponsoring the use of a distinctly Christian symbol which, of course, violates the First Amendment that you cherish so much.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Toby

      Just think for yourself and don't ask my government to pay for (or accept subsidies or tax exemptions which I pay for) things relating to mythologies or delusions. Because once you do you make it my business and THEN I have a big problem with with all of this silliness. Peace.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • xactomundo

      As an atheist, I would like to see them drop this suit. Pick your battles folks. Those people who perished there are not going to any afterlife, but you can respect the fact that they believed in something while they were alive. And maybe their families do too...

      July 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Kyle, can you explain how adding this to the memorial violates. Government is not establishing a religion so I am interested in what actions cause the violation.

      July 26, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
    • tallulah13

      xactamundo, the problem is that people of many faiths died that day, not just christians.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      But Christians did die too. Does the image of this cross say to some part of you that only Christians died?

      July 27, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      @Mark from Middle River, the cross implies it. When you have only one symbol of a faith at a memorial site, it suggests that the site is for Christians. That is not the case here. I would like to see the 9/11 devoid of any religious symbolism, out of respect for all the varying faiths of the people who died that day.

      July 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  12. eilene dover

    I have an idea...how about a middle finger statue flipping OFF Darwin...Richard D...and the lot of them! lol

    July 26, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Kyle

      Oh the vulgarity!

      July 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      How very Christian of you.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  13. Toby

    As a taxpayer who does his own thinking, I do not want a symbol of others' mythology or delusion payed for with my money. Being as how religion is directly responsible for the loss of life on September 11th 2001, I think it is inappropriate and immoral to hang a cross symbolizing the torture and execution of a man-god scapegoat who somehow "relieves" his followers of their personal obligations to others. Peace.

    July 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Pete

      So I guess you are also against the government funding any sort of art or failed science experiments as those would be considered fictional in your opinion as well?

      July 26, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @Pete, how in the world would something you can see and touch be considered fictional? And I’m trying to understand, if you dislike science so much, why are you using a computer?

      July 26, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  14. fernace

    It amazes me to read the in.tol.era.nt, big.oted & hat.eful comments from people who call themselves christian! I shouldn't be surprised, I've been on this blog enough to know..... but the sheer hypocracy is what gets me! Suggesting that people who don't want a cross at Ground Zero,move to Korea is degrading....to your religion! Last week-end some 1 said if you didn't feel like him you should shoot yourself! I've never even heard a devil worshipper spew such hatred! There should not be any religious symbols at the Memorial! I like the idea of donating the cross to a church! It should be a religion free zone, where people can remember the dead, not some religion or other!!

    July 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      Unfortunately, fernace, all too often, Christians cannot behave like Christians. As in, how Christians are supposed to behave. It happens more and more often, which is one of the reasons we have so much division in this country.

      July 26, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  15. Reality

    If Romney wins the election, the cross will be replaced by the golden, horn-blowing Moroni!!! Priceless 🙂 🙂

    July 26, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      For a better understanding we invite you to visit our website http://www.gaychristian101.com

      July 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • .....

      AvdBerg is a troll on this site trying to sell their bogus book and cult religion. Click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      July 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  16. James

    They need to withdraw their suit.. you see by default it has no bearing, whatsoever to them. They deny the existence of church, so how can they sight a suit that declares church and state involvement?

    July 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Laughing

      Are you mentally handicapped or just really stupid?

      July 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • tallulah13

      People of many faiths died that on 9/11, not just christian. That is why a cross is inappropriate. Try to show a little respect to ALL of those who died that day.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:56 am |
  17. SeanNJ

    I remember seeing a whole bunch of twisted cable that looked like the FSM. Can't we get that put on site as well?


    July 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Free

      Binding beams together at a right angle is one of the most basic structures in building, which is why the Romans used it. The entire WTC was filled with cross-beams for support so it would have been extraordinary not to have found any still intact after the attack. Yet, many choose to see this one's survival as some kind of miracle, it seems. Had the blast twisted metal into a passable Hindu 'Om' symbol I'd be impressed.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      @SeanNJ, my fellow Pastafarian. May the Flying Spaghetti Monster give you grace of Our Lady of Marinara with a touch of his noodly appendage.


      July 26, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Andy


      July 26, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • Kyle


      July 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • I = rubber, U = glue

      My problem with the FSM is the extreme bias towards spaghetti, what about all the other forms of pasta.

      I like to envision my Flying Pasta Monster with elbow macaroni facial features, rotini hair, a giant Bowtie, and 2 meatballs because lets be honest, a female FSM is just plain ridiculous.

      July 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Laughing

      @ I=Rubber U=Glue

      HERETIC!!!! BURN THE NON-BELIEVER!!! His holy noodleness is spaghetti AND ONLY THAT, your beliefs are wrong, and false and know you will know pain beyond pain when you are sent into the boiling water that is salted with truth!

      July 26, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • What bounces off me, sticks to you

      @ I = Rubber,
      But if the noodley appendages aren't present, the truth is absent.

      July 26, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Free

      International Talk Like a Pirate Day is fast approaching (September 19)!!! Have you guys bought your stuffed parrots yet?

      July 26, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • tallulah13


      July 27, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  18. joelle esther benyayer

    how lmong ghe united nationsin new york take before the people and some races by kills or is it also the matter of bussiness united nations hope not joelle esther benyayer shalom we jews get like some races persécuties in world no audience joelle esther benyayer europa make the slavery and terrosism for forbiden change the mental of this peiople or ecducation still it is hate and how to get the top of some people money robbery and murders europa in some part italy germany france holland smeel cheat and totatlitarims i do not understand why job cohen in holand need to to put jewish taylor and kippa against anti semistims or is it like the caarnaval sanctions that all is not broodway kills people racistes now the naisme is i europa from holland to german italy they start from there

    July 26, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Matt, San Diego


      July 26, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Jim

      Maybe she just has thumbs too big for practical texting?

      July 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  19. Dale Netherton, Farmington, Iowa

    Who needs symbols? Belief without evidence requires a tangible symbol but a reasoned conviction stands on its own.

    July 26, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • GodPot

      It reminds me of standing in the middle of a field where a game of flag football is being played and both teams keep shouting at you to pick a side and where that sides color's so they know what team your on, and all you wanted to do was enjoy the afternoon and lay out in the sun...

      We do not need a symbol to show which side we are on since we are just not playing your games.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • GodPot

      where = wear...

      July 26, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
  20. Katmoan

    I think atheist should get a symbol. That way everyone can have their respective beliefs acknowledged.

    July 26, 2011 at 1:46 pm |
    • Chris

      No,,,,you see to be an atheist all you have to do is say "I dont agree with you on that". We aren't a group, well we are, but we are a group created when religion was created. The goverment isn't to promote one religion over another so hence the "problem" here.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • GodPot

      " We aren't a group, well we are, but we are a group created when religion was created." I like that. It's so true and I had not thought of it like that before. The very first time one of our ancient ancestors pointed to the sky and said "What is that big bright thing in the sky" and another said "It's the thing that made all of us, its called God and I know what he wants from you!" There was another ancestor who thought "Nahh, that doesn't make any sense" and was the first atheist, until he was hit over the head by the followers of the guy with the God idea, who's God just so happens to demand fealty...

      July 26, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Free

      Symbols generally represent something abstract. There's nothing abstract about refusing to believe in things that have no evidence to support them. In that sense, everything that I can feel, see, hear, taste, and smell as well as everything else that can we know exists through experimentation, and by using instruments that have greater senses than we do are all symbols of our rationalism. Basically, I see my atheism in nature and what we know is real, whereas religious symbols are meant to conjure up acceptance of the supernatural.

      July 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Katmoan

      Oh, I see. It is difficult to come up with one single image when the belief system is so convoluted. For Christians the path is clear. And God, first and not second, gives his children a choice to follow or not follow. Well, until they die I guess.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • pfeffernusse

      No, atheists do no believe in God. That’s it. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. We don’t need to invent a Byzantine system of rules, characters, and events to prop up our non belief. Is not believing in pixies complicated? No? Then neither is not believing in God.

      Logic. Get you some.

      July 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Pete

      Atheists cannot have a symbol. If they did, they would have to sue themselves for believing in something....

      July 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Laughing


      I get it now! Atheists are nihlists!

      July 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • SkepticalSeeker

      Just try getting atheists to agree on a symbol and see how far you get. :-p

      July 26, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
    • Free

      Atheism 'convoluted'? How do you figure that?

      July 26, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Katmoan

      @ Free – my computer is slow and jumpy. I responded to your question, but you have to go back to most recent posts, 9:44 a.m. central.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • Katmoan

      I decided to copy it here instead....@ Free – It's convoluted because it is a "me complex" belief policy. If "I" don't believe then "I" will do whatever "I" want to do. It's followers believe in nothing but pleasing self. It is a chaotic and unreliable form of socialism. It's unrealistic. Jesus was nailed to the cross by others of the same convoluted belief ideals. I'm not judging, I'm just joining in on the debate and holding up what I believe in, which is God. There isn't one part of me that thinks that we just happened here out of nothing. The universe, the way our earth provides us with what we need, the way our bodies seemingly work on their own, and the fact that we have the ability to think for ourselves. Logic isn't your right. It's your gift. Enjoy it, but please don't misuse it.

      July 27, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • pfeffernusse

      @Katmoan, you don’t know much about atheism, do you?

      Atheism is about forming one’s own opinions based on their logic and the evidence presented. It’s about knowledge. There is no “me complex”. Atheists understand that they live in a society and that cooperation and mutual respect are the best means of achieving a successful society.

      I am an atheist. I hold myself to a high standard of behavior. I don’t cheat, steal, kill, and I try not to lie. Not because I’m afraid of eternal judgement from an angry sky daddy, but because it’s the right thing to do. I don’t need fear to guide how I act. I was raised well by parents who taught me the value of honesty and respect. I’m a good person because being a good person is an honorable goal. I know that I am not alone among atheists.

      I’ve found that a great many people (mostly Christians) have this idea that atheists are some kind of godless, anarchic, baby-eating terror mob. The reality is far from the myth. I respect your right to believe in God and Jesus. I will defend that right until my end. All I ask is that you, in turn, respect MY right not to believe. Don’t try to pass faith-based laws that impact me personally. And don’t insult me by saying that just because I don’t believe in God I am some kind of amoral monster.

      July 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
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