Atheists sue over World Trade Center cross

July 27, 2011 at 10:45 PM
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NEW YORK, July 27 (UPI) -- An atheists' organization is suing to keep a cross from being part of the exhibit at the National September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City.

In the suit, filed Tuesday in state Supreme Court, American Atheists claims the inclusion of the 17-foot, cross-shaped steel beams, found in the rubble of the twin World Trade Center towers destroyed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, would promote Christianity above other religions on public property, ABC News reported Wednesday.

"The museum should remember everybody who died or suffered, not just the Christians. America is a melting pot," said Jane Everhart, communications director for the New York chapter of American Atheists.

Dave Silverman, American Atheists president, said the group would "happily, happily, drop the case," if the 9/11 Memorial and Museum either remove the cross, or add other religious memorials to the exhibit.

"It's an all or nothing deal. They can remove the cross, or they can let everybody else in. Either way is legal and we would drop the case," Silverman said.

The 9/11 Memorial foundation told ABC News that other religious items would be added to the exhibit, including a Jewish prayer shawl, a Star of David cut from World Trade Center steel and a bible fused to a piece of steel that was found during recovery efforts.

The memorial foundation added that the cross was added first due to its large size.

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