Why American atheists’ hate 9/11 cross

Exclusive: William J. Murray explains roots of group’s beef with heaven, Christianity

The cross of Christ is offensive and a symbol of death to those who are perishing, but it is a symbol of resurrection and life to those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Savior. There is no clearer example of this biblical truth than the outrage expressed by David Silverman of American Atheists over a girder in the shape of a cross from the vicious Islamist jihad attack on America of Sept. 11, 2001.

Ground Zero CrossAmerican Atheists has sued the memorial, claiming that the display of this cross, formed from molten steel as the World Trade Center buildings collapsed killing thousands, offends atheists and violates the “separation of church and state.” Such a claim is nonsense, of course, but it shows the depth of hatred that atheists have toward any public expression of Judeo-Christian symbols

American Atheists’ hatred of the cross and Christianity is long standing from the days of the organization’s founding by my Marxist mother, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who for decades proudly billed herself as the “most hated woman in America.” Her anger against God and the free-enterprise system at one point led her to attempt to defect to the Soviet Union. This hatred for God eventually led her to file one of the lawsuits leading to the removal of prayer from this nation’s public schools.

Many of my mother’s lawsuits were more than outrageous; they were ludicrous, such as the one filed to bar astronauts from praying while in orbit in outer space. David Silverman has followed her example of extremism with the current lawsuit against the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The steel beam cross Silverman and his group find so offensive is but one of more than 1,000 other artifacts on display in the Museum from the 9/11 Islamist attack, and it is not even on display yet. In 2011, this same group expressed outrage over a New York City street sign that honored seven firefighters who died trying to save lives on that horrific day of the jihadist attack. The sign said “Seven In Heaven Way.”

American Atheist leader David Silverman opposed the street sign then because it “implies that heaven actually exists. … Heaven is a specifically Christian place. For the city to come up and say all those heroes are in heaven now, it’s not appropriate.” Apparently certain words such as “heaven” are now off limits in public usage even as a street name.

The American Atheists in 2005 filed a lawsuit that ultimately forced the state of Utah to remove from along its highways the memorials to fallen state troopers. Beside removing the memorials to the officers, the courts ordered the state of Utah to give American Atheists $338,000 for being “offended” by the sight of the crosses marking where the troopers had died!

The atheists’ offense at the cross continues unabated.

Never deterred by logic or the Judeo-Christian heritage of our nation, the American Atheists are now claiming that the display of the 9/11 memorial cross is causing them physical and emotional trauma. They have actually claimed in their lawsuit that the existence of the cross has caused them headaches, indigestion and mental pain. They demand that the museum build them a 17-foot high “A” to honor atheists, or else remove the cross – despite the fact that the museum is a private, not a public, entity.

Lawyers for the 9/11 memorial say that the cross “comprises a key component of the retelling of the story of 9/11, in particular the role of faith in the events of the day and, particularly, during the recovery efforts. … [the 9/11 Memorial Museum] is “not in the business of providing equal time for faiths, we are in the business of telling the story of 9/11 and the victims of 9/11.” The museum has asked the Court to dismiss the case brought by the cross-hating atheists.

The atheists’ claims of being damaged because of being offended may be ridiculous but they are also a serious concern, because courts have astonishingly in the past found in our Constitution the “right not to be offended,” although it appears nowhere in that document. In some cases, displays honoring Christian faith have been removed from public view because atheists found them “offensive.” The danger with any court or other legal entity agreeing with this argument granting the right “not to be offended” is that free speech is eliminated.

The right “not to be offended” and free speech are not compatible. There can be no free speech in a nation where it is against the law to be of offense to anyone. This is clearly demonstrated in Europe, where even well-known individuals have been threatened with jail or actually imprisoned for offending groups such as Muslims or homosexuals.

Silverman and his American Atheists’ attack on the cross at the 9/11 museum represents more than a war against Christianity; it is a war against religious freedom and free speech. The war against Christianity and free speech continues unabated, with American Atheists being just one of many organizations that want to rob Americans of their “first liberty.”

2 replies
  1. Doug Indeap
    Doug Indeap says:

    Why some would direct their ire at those, like American Atheists, who seek to uphold the Constitution, rather than those flouting it is not apparent. It is important to distinguish between “individual” and “government” speech about religion. The First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause assures that each individual is free to exercise and express his or her religious views–publicly as well as privately. The Amendment constrains only the government not to promote or otherwise take steps toward establishment of religion. As government can only act through the individuals comprising its ranks, when those individuals are performing their official duties (e.g., officials choosing to display monuments in public buildings), they effectively are the government and thus should conduct themselves in accordance with the First Amendment’s constraints on government. When acting in their individual capacities, they are free to exercise their religions as they please. If their right to free exercise of religion extended even to their discharge of their official responsibilities, however, the First Amendment constraints on government establishment of religion would be eviscerated. While figuring out whether someone is speaking for the government in any particular circumstance may sometimes be difficult, making the distinction is critical.

    A word should be added about the common canard that this is all about people easily offended. We’re not talking about the freedom of individuals to say or do something others find offensive; each of us has that freedom. We’re talking about the government weighing in to promote religion. Under our Constitution, our government has no business doing that–REGARDLESS of whether anyone is offended. While this is primarily a constitutional point, it is one that conservatives–small government conservatives–should appreciate from a political standpoint as well. While the First Amendment thus constrains government from promoting (or opposing) religion without regard to whether anyone is offended, a court may address the issue only in a suit by someone with “standing” (sufficient personal stake in a matter) to bring suit; in order to show such standing, a litigant may allege he is offended or otherwise harmed by the government’s failure to follow the law; the question whether someone has standing to sue is entirely separate from the question whether the government has violated the Constitution.


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