Atheist group sues over steel cross at 9/11 memorial
Museum, atheists spar over display
- Duration 7:37
- Date Aug 17, 2012
Museum, atheists spar over display
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
But people behind the museum at ground zero are sticking to their symbol defending the display of the steel cross found at ground zero in their museum.
And now asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit that is demanding that cross be removed from the museum.
This is the unforgettable image found in the wreckage from that horrible day steel beams shaped like a cross and inspiration in the middle of -- tragedy.
The steel cross is part of the September 11 memorial museum but a national atheists group.
Has sued the museum calling the display of that this.
Take care unconstitutional.
Joining me now David Silverman the president of American Atheists.
And afterward we'll be joined by about a 9/11.
-- -- welcome back to the program so now the museum has moved it to dismiss your lawsuit which you and I talked about red if you filed it.
Saying -- big problem is you have not they are not a state actor their museum.
And that they it's not their job -- did make sure all face are represented their museum it's their job to chronicle history and this is part of history.
Well this is actually a public museum on public land funded by public funds and when we look at the 9/11 events we see an event that -- that captured the hearts and minds of all Americans equally.
It wasn't a Christian event but they're taking this opportunity to put in a seventeen tall steel monument to christianity in -- public museum.
Funded by public money.
In a religious ceremony buyer priest to consecrated the public ground and they have the gall to say that this is not a religious event well.
We differ American Atheists -- have just as much.
Ownership of this museum as everybody else.
A lot of -- died on 9/11 and we demand equal representation.
But you did not have a symbol that was found in the wreckage of ground zero I mean if there had Ben I know one of your -- -- -- maybe put up a giant -- in the museum.
If if such -- a relic had been found in the midst of the rubble they would likely display it but none was.
No that's because there are no symbols of eight -- and are symbols of christianity in the shape of crosses.
Everybody knows the cross is a symbol of christianity and everybody also knows the World Trade Center was assembled out of cross beams.
And hundreds of both Crosby and survived the fall that does not give christianity the right to usurp the rest of the nation.
And to have a memorial solely to itself an hour.
In our national -- -- memorial.
-- isn't a memorial or is it an artifact of what.
Was found in the rubble after 9/11 and a place that many folks went to gather not just -- but also meditate.
-- third artifact only because it's religious it is a piece of scrap metal and the only.
Artifacts from that is the fact that people prayed over it as a religious icon it has been.
Jesus have been carved into the top of that it is a religious icon everybody knows it's a religious icon.
And frankly we find the assertion that it's not religious to be insulting to our intelligence and everybody else so.
If if a church had been destroyed right next to the Twin Towers on 9/11 and end.
That the -- -- was found amidst the rubble they wanted to put that Alter the museum which have a problem with that.
No actually -- be a piece of history this is just a steel girder that has been turned into an icon.
After market after the event.
By Christians who wanted to get this installed in the memorial to the exclusion.
Of everybody else and I want to make something clear -- and we are not asking where not demanding that the cross be removed we are demanding equal representation.
I don't -- -- you -- payday you want to be we want something Andy will pay for it.
But they will not allow us because of bigotry you also claim that this is causing an emotional distress to you and other atheists and and just Pepsi yeah.
I think it's important to know I think it's important to know.
That -- our rights are trampled we have the right to refuse it we have the right but you're not answering my question and relentless it was suffering this Pepsi and headaches because of this we have.
It was several complaints Jordan who are suffering but the point -- testified -- a court block under oath that they are suffering.
From this panacea and headaches because of the knowing that this is in this museum yes on the World Trade Center will argue that the crosses and Christian under oath as well we'll see who's telling the truth aren't always a pleasure speaking you David I thank you -- -- -- -- -- That -- but close enough -- -- for others as you know the seemingly religious symbol is actually so much more than that.
And joining me now to -- discuss the other side is.
He lost his cousin on 9/11 he fled the attacks in downtown New York with his brother that morning Joseph good to see your your thoughts first of all in the response -- be deterred thanks -- I'm angry.
I'm angry that.
We are forced to defend this.
This was an artifact maybe that's what he wants to call it that was found at the World Trade Center -- it it it inspired inspiration.
Among all those people who -- down there at ground zero.
It was it was part of the tradition of what happened that day and whether he wants to deny.
It's religious symbolism or once -- -- religious symbolism relevant it was very important to the people who would down there at the time it would be like saying the USS Arizona.
Is a should should be destroyed too because it with people -- gone there to pray for the people that at Pearl Harbor.
-- and -- a little bit about my story on that day I was in the World Trade Center that morning I went through with my brother as he commuted every day.
And after the second after the first plane hit I I try to call my -- Stephen canter FitzGerald and I didn't couldn't get him of course.
And I finally got my brother we we met on water street and as we're walking north are meant to offend develop a colleague of mine who's crying hysterically on the street.
Jeff -- Jewish the first place we went to was as saint Patrick's church in in a little Italy and three of us sat and prayed.
And she was Jewish I'm Catholic didn't matter it was prayer that day that's what we did.
David in his group say.
That's fine so you could have.
The cross to memorialize that piece of the 9/11 aftermath but but they want something to reflect.
They -- believes that religion is a big hoax in his view and he says 500 atheist died on 9/11 and there.
Beliefs or lack thereof should also be represented.
Look he he also said that there is a symbol of atheism so I I don't know what he's proposing.
All we know is that we have -- we have a symbol there that was inspirational to people.
And -- nothing the other part of it is talking about that this is a unconstitutional.
The constitution doesn't talk about that is the is tough but establishing religion.
If I can just -- a quick quote from George Washington.
He said of all the dispositions.
And habits which -- -- the political prosperity.
Religion and morality are indispensable supports.
These guys are trying to destroy those supports a little bit at a time and they do it by these frivolous lawsuits they try to bring down our society they try to dumb us down.
And they try to make it the next time it's a little bit easier than for them to win one of these our country needs to stand tall.
There they -- destroyers you know it's so much easier to destroy things than it is to create things.
We saw it on nine elevenths -- to buildings took years to build -- as a little kid that was -- street in our town where you could see it going up.
And I was growing up ten years to build and it was destroyed in the morning.
That's what they're doing here the destroy the trying to destroy the our society and the and even mess in its place like that in -- 9/11.
And I'm so grateful to the people of America in New York -- standing up to this we've had enough.
Let us let us -- lives.
You can be atheist if you want just don't stop -- the rest of America for doing what's right we'll see how -- judge rules now response to that motion to dismiss that was just filed.
-- O'Connor thank you so much all the best you.