When nineteen religious believers flew planes into the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon and made a failed attempt at another target on September 11th 2001, something pretty amazing was found in the wreckage of the Twin Towers. Believe it or not, a cross beam from the one of the towers was found in the shape of… a cross beam. It must have been a sign from God. Because of this, some religious believers decided to worship this cross beam which has now been called the “9/11 Cross.”
Now, some religious believers want to use the “9/11 Cross” as an opportunity to proselytize by demanding that it go into the national 9/11 Memorial Museum which is set to open next year. These same religious believers are no doubt hoping to cement the marriage of patriotism to their particular religious belief with this steel cross beam.
Their argument is that this religious symbol was “miraculously” found in the wreckage of the Twin Towers and has given some people comfort; therefore, it belongs in the museum. There are many problems with this. First, it wasn’t so miraculous. Second, not everyone gained comfort from it. And third, it is an attempt to use this tragedy for religious purposes.
As a non-Christian American, I am infuriated at the way these religious believers are using this tragedy for their own religious gain. Not long ago, a Muslim cleric planned to build a Muslim Community Center four blocks from Ground Zero and Christian believers went absolutely insane. They yelled and screamed that Ground Zero was sacred ground and that a “Mosque” shouldn’t be built so close to this sacred site. They ignored the fact that there are churches less than a block away from this same site. And now these same people have the audacity to attempt to push their particular beliefs into the museum dealing with this sacred ground.
The fact is that there were many non-Christians who died in the 9/11 tragedy and there were many non-Christians who came to the rescue on that day. Putting this “9/11 Cross” into this museum is like spitting in their faces. Have they no sense of decency? These religious believers can’t allow anything in this nation to go without rubberstamping their religion on it. It seems that anything having to do with 9/11 in particular can’t go without the Christian seal of approval for all to see and worship.
Let me put it another way. If it wasn’t a Cross found in the wreckage but some other religious symbol like a star and crescent (from Islam) and Muslims were demanding that this symbol brought peace and comfort to Muslim rescue workers and that it ought to be in the 9/11 Memorial Museum, what do you think the response would be from those in the Christian community who are pushing for “9/11 Cross” to go into the museum today?
There would be protests in the street and Fox News would be talking about how these Muslims are using 9/11 to push their beliefs. We all know this to be true, so why is it any different when it is a Christian symbol used for these same purposes? Even worse, this is just another way for Christians to link their religion to patriotism and to attempt to establish a government endorsement for their beliefs.
This is why American Atheists are suing to keep the “9/11 Cross” out of the museum. It doesn’t belong in the museum because it has nothing to do with 9/11. It is propaganda designed to take advantage of this tragedy and weaken the Jeffersonian Wall between Church and State.
It is unconscionable for these religious believers to force their religion down everyone’s throat and to attempt to take advantage of this tragedy in this way. The tragedy of 9/11 should have brought us all together as Americans and yet here these people are, trying to force their brand onto everyone. This museum isn’t about Christianity. It isn’t a Christianity museum. It is a museum for all Americans and shouldn’t be used as an advertising opportunity. If they are really that hard up for publicity, I am sure they would get a lot just putting their “9/11 Cross” on display at one of the many nearby churches.
But no, they won’t settle for anything less than another false impression of a government endorsement of their particular beliefs. They won’t settle for anything less than another crack in the Jeffersonian Wall and another instance in which they can claim precedence for claims of a Christian Nation.
The irony is that it was the events of 9/11 which started the so called, “New Atheism” movement. It was this very tragedy which woke up so many atheists to the dangers of religious belief. Yet atheists aren’t the ones trying to use this tragedy in such an insensitive fashion. For shame Christians, for shame!
Read part two of this article series --
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