This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Atheist group’s frivolous lawsuit aims to bar ‘cross’ from 9/11 museum

Atheist group’s frivolous lawsuit aims to bar ‘cross’ from 9/11 museum - Comments

wisnoskij's Avatar Comment 1 by wisnoskij

I have to agree 100% with this article. If a significant amount of people did see "hope amid the rubble" or draw any sort of importance from this then it is a historically important artifact that belongs in any 9/11 museum.

"the suit’s goal was either to have the object eliminated from the museum altogether or to provide equal representation for all religions." how can you include 9/11 artifacts that do not exists? sure if there was equality important Muslim or other religious artifacts that were being excluded because the US is a christian nation then sure that is grounds to get mad.

In closing museums are allowed to have themes and themes often exclude certain groups. It would be perfectly fine to create a museum about the history of Christianity, or the crusades, or witch burning; All of which would almost certainly contain mostly Christian artifacts. Not it would not be OK for the US to found a history of Christianity museum without showing both the good and the bad, but that is a different issue.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:22:43 UTC | #858201

sbooder's Avatar Comment 2 by sbooder

I really could not give a crap one way or the other.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:30:30 UTC | #858203

huzonfurst's Avatar Comment 3 by huzonfurst

This is new information, as I was under the impression this thing would be on prominent display and yet another example of xianity being shoved in our faces. If it's only part of the museum I still wouldn't like it but I guess it would be legal. I will, however, bask in the irony of a religious symbol - and that's what it is despite so many people trying to spin in the other way - being used to commemorate a disaster caused by religion!

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:32:26 UTC | #858204

locka's Avatar Comment 4 by locka

I doubt many people would care if it was just one of many artifacts, sculptures dotted around to give a sense of the event and its impact. If however it was given special treatment, e.g. being the centrepiece of the museum or otherwise given special prominence then they sure as hell would. The US is a multi-cultural and multi-faith society after all.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:35:32 UTC | #858205

Starcrash's Avatar Comment 5 by Starcrash

I think the various American atheist organizations keep picking the wrong battles. Has anyone studied the cases that the MPAA picks to fight in their battle against copyright violations? Even if they're legally in the right, they've lost credibility by taking up these silly cases to argue over.

In the same way, I think atheism is losing credibility in the modern press because of its nit-picking. In this one case, the crossbeam actually meant something to several American people. Even if its nature is religious, it makes sense to include in a museum of artifacts that speak to people about 911 - its events, memories, and meaningful symbols. While the argument to remove this religious icon may be legally right, it's a battle that could lose the war for us.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:48:55 UTC | #858214

helena!'s Avatar Comment 6 by helena!

I don't give a crap either but I think it's a good thing they are suing it raises awareness that hey guess what not everyone sees that the same way. Personally I find the symbol represents torture and is disgusting that people worship a cross. Beyond ridiculous. It's also obviously one of the most highly divisive symbols in the world. It is offensive to me I have to see them every day hanging from people's necks and rearview mirrors.

One other point - they should also be fair to all the other diverse shapes and symbols that were found at the site and make sure to display them all side by side. Be sure to include the lines, the circles and fractals. Let's not be shapesist!

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:50:09 UTC | #858215

Peter White's Avatar Comment 7 by Peter White

What I'd like to know is why this symbol of religious hatred is always pictured with some sort of shroud on one of the horizontals. I've heard of the Shroud of Turin, why does this cross need a shroud?

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 14:53:00 UTC | #858218

God fearing Atheist's Avatar Comment 8 by God fearing Atheist

I'm not surprised at the reaction.

Haven't American Atheists got bigger fish to fry?

Rob Boston, senior policy analyst for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told me that “if the cross is being displayed in a museum as an artifact of the event with accompanying information about what it is and where it came from, it’s highly unlikely that a court would strike it down.”

... and the lawsuit is bollocks.

Congratulations AA on your own goal.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:04:07 UTC | #858220

SoHelpMeReason's Avatar Comment 9 by SoHelpMeReason

I'm not too pleased with Silverman myself. I mean, hey, I'm not googly-eyed for religion over here--that point doesn't even have to be made--but I hate when atheists needlessly look like trolls. It's the spirit of the Youtube blitzkrieg-commenter atheist type who leaps in, writes "Death to Islam!" without a mature point to make, and then departs content that he's infuriated some other cyber idiot.This really is trivial. I'd even venture so far as to suggest it looks like a publicity stunt. Making a court case out of it only serves to make a public case that atheists are being deliberate contrarians, as opposed to frustrated citizens with a genuine point.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:12:43 UTC | #858222

Adrian A Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 10 by Adrian A Bartholomew

Lone voice in favour of AA here: How many crosses were there in WTC? I mean 2 pieces of metal crossed... This isn't a work of art, this is pareidolia nothing more. Would it be a symbol of hope if it had been a crescent moon and stars? At least that would have been a little bit surprising in a building made of metal crosses. The thing is not historic.

Sidenote: I wonder if they also found a sandwich with Jesus' face on it would that make it in too?

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:16:42 UTC | #858225

CarolineMary's Avatar Comment 11 by CarolineMary

So perhaps - instead of trying to ban the thing, there should be some kind of realisitic assessment of it.

EG How many straight bits of metal there were in the WTC? (a metric buttload, I'm guessing) How many of them were joined to other bits at right angles? (probably most of them)

Perhaps the 'miracle' is that they only found one.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:30:37 UTC | #858228

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins

I was once kicked around the room at an atheist conference by an elder statesman of the American atheist movement, because I criticised the tokenism of atheists objecting to 'In God we Trust' on banknotes. I said it was frivolous, and we'd be better spending our time fighting for important causes like removing the tax-exemption of religious organisations. The elder statesman rather scornfully told me that religious lobbies actually USE the slogan on the dollars as EVIDENCE that "America is a Christian country" and they use this to justify such things as tax-exemption for churches.

He was probably right about the banknotes. But I suspect that he'd have a harder time making the same case for the World Trade Center cross.

Richard

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:33:49 UTC | #858229

Adrian A Bartholomew's Avatar Comment 13 by Adrian A Bartholomew

Either way he made headlines. He even managed to get derided on the Daily Show. Is that a good thing? Actually I'm not sure its bad, in the "bad publicity is better than no publicity" brand of thinking.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:37:35 UTC | #858230

genes4all's Avatar Comment 14 by genes4all

Its brilliant that this item will be displayed for all the public to see and touch, as it may let scientists finally test the metal for traces of thermite used in the demolition process.

Just to throw a bit of conspiracy in the mix !!

Seriously though,does it seem odd to anyone else that this piece of steel is in such good condition after a skyscraper fell on it? Methinks it may be a fake created by Xtians to promote their cause.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:39:38 UTC | #858233

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 15 by Vorlund

Frivolous: Not having any serious purpose or value.

Quite a bit like religions I'd say.

If the lawsuit raises awareness about the way religions creep into politic and government, poisoning society and the propensity for people to follow without evidence or question those who are mendacious in the highest degree, then it isn't frivolous.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:40:03 UTC | #858234

Stevehill's Avatar Comment 16 by Stevehill

A totally bollocks piece of litigation and a complete waste of money that could be spent furthering atheists' causes (which this is not).

Would they sue if someone donated a Leonardo Madonna painting to a New York museum?

Actually, maybe - given their current level of imbecility - they would, but they would also rightly lose.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:45:31 UTC | #858236

neil pharr's Avatar Comment 17 by neil pharr

Let them have their cross. Too bad they did not have a little christain love for Palestine - then the buildings would still be standing!

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:46:36 UTC | #858238

mjs31's Avatar Comment 18 by mjs31

As long as it's not being used as a symbol that represents all of the victims of 911 (as I was originally led to believe) I could care less if it's just included in the museum.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 15:52:22 UTC | #858240

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 19 by Schrodinger's Cat

I agree with the wholehearted call for common sense that the article portrays. The '911 cross' is part of the history of the event. Where better to place it than in a museum dedicated to that history ? The atheists calling for a law suit need to stop being so frickin anal.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:01:29 UTC | #858243

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 20 by Steve Zara

This cross seems to be part of the history of events at the 9/11 site. It seems rather silly to refuse to recognise that this was the situation. I suggest it is also a reminder of the absurd thinking that can come from religion - in the aftermath of an attack in which faith was involves, some people seemed to think that God had somehow arranged for there to be a piece of rubble in the shape of a cross as some sort of indication that everything was really alright. This cross should inspire pity and astonishment at the delusional state of such people.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:05:20 UTC | #858246

keith54's Avatar Comment 21 by keith54

Seems like, to be consistent, you'd have to ask for the removal of a siginficant proportion of art/sculptural pieces from all musems and art galleries, if they include religious symbolism.

[Assuming the factual accuracy of the workers deliberately preserving it].

Seems like AA are just giving their money to lawyers for no good reason.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:07:19 UTC | #858248

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 22 by Peter Grant

It does seem a bit frivolous. We're atheists after all, not vampires. Religious symbols don't have any power over us.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:18:34 UTC | #858255

Fujikoma's Avatar Comment 23 by Fujikoma

The reality is that the ends were cut off by workers to resemble a cross. This was not a naturally occurring event. It's not a big deal to me if it's in the museum, but I think they should be honest about how the shape came about.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:19:31 UTC | #858256

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 24 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 20 by Steve Zara

I suggest it is also a reminder of the absurd thinking that can come from religion - in the aftermath of an attack in which faith was involves, some people seemed to think that God had somehow arranged for there to be a piece of rubble in the shape of a cross as some sort of indication that everything was really alright. This cross should inspire pity and astonishment at the delusional state of such people.

I think precisely for that reason the 911 cross is a powerful symbol of human frailty. It is, ironically, the perfect symbol. You could replace it with a hand grasping at a straw.......which artistically would be identical......but that would just be too obvious.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:22:32 UTC | #858259

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 25 by MilitantNonStampCollector

This only reinforces the negative perceptions of the atheist movement. Let them have it FFS - how petty!

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:29:47 UTC | #858262

secularjew's Avatar Comment 26 by secularjew

It's times like this that I'm beginning to see Sam Harris's point about how we shouldn't be calling ourselves a movement. I have to say that the first time I heard this story, I was under the impression that the cross was going to be THE memorial at Ground Zero, but apparently this is not the case, and I'm in total agreement with Jacoby, as with Professor Dawkins about "In God We Trust" on the money (if anything, that slogan illustrates Christian hypocrisy because Jesus wasn't too fond of that whole "den of thieves").

I think we need to pick our battles. Yes, there are many things in this world that make up the mosaic of religion, but we have to get our priorities straight. After all, our goal is not to fight symbols. In fact, if we were living in a predominantly atheist world, would we even care about things like crosses on memorials. Hell, in that world I wouldn't care much if a cross marked my grave. We have enough trouble with the Bill O'Reillies of this world, telling Christians that atheists want to eliminate Christmas and other false claims. Yes, thankfully, atheism is on the rise, but we're not out of the woods yet.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:29:50 UTC | #858263

GoneGolfing's Avatar Comment 27 by GoneGolfing

Steve Zara

Yes Steve. And if it could only inspire self-pity: An overwhelming unhappiness about their own delusions.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:30:32 UTC | #858264

Basees's Avatar Comment 28 by Basees

I'm going to stick my neck out here and go against the tide of general opinion on this.

I agree with the American Atheists lawsuit. For one thing, where do you draw the line to decide one objection meriting a lawsuit is frivolous and another is serious enough? What's the criteria? Surely, the people who are placed best to make judgements on such matters are those who have first hand knowledge and experience on the such cases.

For another, I think its a good thing to show that faith, of whatever colour, should not have freehand promoting religious myths, especially where the occasion has such a lasting historical significance, and should it attempt to take advantage of its privileged position, it would face stiff opposition. I don't hold much hope for that lawsuit, but I would certainly celebrate their victory, if they won it.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:31:01 UTC | #858265

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 29 by InYourFaceNewYorker

Richard, what do you think of the NYC Atheists' lawsuit over Seven in Heaven Way? I think it's a crock. It's just poetic, and it's not like they're calling it "Seven with Jesus Way." I rarely hang out with NYC Atheists anymore. I find many of its members to be fantastically embittered and overly defensive (which I suppose is understandable, considering many of them are at least in their 60s and probably grew up in a generation where there was no such thing as being an open atheist) and frustrating to be around.

Julie

Comment 12 by Richard Dawkins :

I was once kicked around the room at an atheist conference by an elder statesman of the American atheist movement, because I criticised the tokenism of atheists objecting to 'In God we Trust' on banknotes. I said it was frivolous, and we'd be better spending our time fighting for important causes like removing the tax-exemption of religious organisations. The elder statesman rather scornfully told me that religious lobbies actually USE the slogan on the dollars as EVIDENCE that "America is a Christian country" and they use this to justify such things as tax-exemption for churches.

He was probably right about the banknotes. But I suspect that he'd have a harder time making the same case for the World Trade Center cross.

Richard

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:45:54 UTC | #858271

Doomrot's Avatar Comment 30 by Doomrot

The cross-beams being included in the 9/11 museum perpetuates the false notion that our involvement in the Middle East is a holy war between Christians and Muslums. It does not belong there.

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 16:48:55 UTC | #858274