Atheist Group Wants 9/11 Cross Removed from Museum

By Katy Tur and Amanda Plasencia
|  Wednesday, Jul 27, 2011  |  Updated 1:04 PM EDT
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An atheist group has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a cross made out of World Trade Center steel beams from going on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Katy Tur / NBC New York

An atheist group has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a cross made out of World Trade Center steel beams from going on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

An atheist group has filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent a cross made out of World Trade Center steel beams from going on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum.
 
American Atheists sued this week in state court arguing that the group opposes the placement of the cross in the museum because members believe it is the only religious article getting special accommodation there.
 
The cross, made of two intersecting steel beams, was found standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

"This cross is now a part of the official WTC memorial. No other religions or philosophies will be honored. It will just be a Christian icon, in the middle of OUR memorial,” Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, said in a release.

Silverman added that the memorial must allow atheists and other belief groups to include their own displays of equal size.
 
For the past several years the cross has been housed at St. Peter's church. On Saturday it was permanently moved to the 9/11 Memorial Museum after a ceremonial blessing at Zuccotti Park.
 
The 9/11 Memorial Museum, which will officially open next year, said its mission is to tell the history of the attacks through artifacts like the cross.

"This steel remnant became a symbol of spiritual comfort for the thousands of recovery workers who toiled at ground zero, as well as for people around the world," said 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels. "In the historical exhibition, the cross is part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the story of 9/11 in a way nothing else can.”

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