Won't someone think of the poor atheists? With no God to appeal to for mercy, they can only rely on the justice of our imperfect court system, where they're suing to stop the famous September 11 Cross from being included as part of the memorial and museum at the World Trade Center site. Some see the cross, which consists of intersecting steel beams found in the Ground Zero rubble, as a symbol of perseverance and faith. But according to a lawsuit filed by American Atheists, the cross's side effects include "dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack."
The Times turned to legal experts to see if the lawsuit has any merit, and Marc D. Stern, who has long studied church-state issues, says the lawsuit presented "an extra-difficult case... It’s a significant part of the story of the reaction to the attack, and that is a secular piece of history. It’s also very clear from the repeated blessing of the cross, and the way believers speak about the cross, that it has intense present religious meaning to many people. And both of those narratives about this cross are correct."
Asked what symbol atheists would prefer to see in the museum, David Silverman, the president of American Atheists, told the Times, "Perhaps an atom, because we’re all made out of atoms." It's just that when those atoms accidentally arrange themselves in the form of a religious icon on government property, Silverman has problems. And noted atheist Bill Maher agrees; reached for his reaction to the 9/11 cross lawsuit, he told Daily Intel:
The news from Norway reminds us that Christianity is also a religion with a bloody history, and perfectly capable of creating dangerous, violent extremists just as Islam does. Once you buy into the idea of things that are "holy", you're closer to buying into the idea of a "holy war." Anders Breivik was a terrorist calling for a Christian war against Muslims. In this atmosphere, symbols about whose god "rules" are not helpful.
At last, liberals have their own 9/11 to evoke whenever they want to end an argument! Unless the Port Authority wants to be responsible for another Oslo, they'd better do the atheists' bidding.