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Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Why is there a cross at the World Trade Center museum?

Asked by Simone_De_Beauvoir (38857 points ) July 29th, 2011

An atheist group filed a lawsuit against the giant cross at the WTC museum (a public place paid for by all people to commemorate the tragedy) – read here – but many people say this lawsuit is misguided and that the cross brings hope to people, whatever that means, when remembering the event.

I vehemently disagree with the cross being placed there (let alone with the bible that’s being planned to be fused with a steel panel inside…they will also place a star of david, I’ve read, to include another Abrahamic faith particle and to exclude, I’m assuming, anything to do with Islam) because, as usual, it denotes an arrogance on the part of the planners that aligns all signs of hope or what have you with Christianity just because it is the assumption that many people are Christian and they’re around. What do you think?

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87 Answers

Ron_C's avatar

The same reason that Bush said that the war against Muslim terrorists is a crusade. Some people can’t separate their religion from reality.

SpatzieLover's avatar

The cross was found on the sight. Many of the people that died on 9/11 were Christians. Their Christian relatives feel the sight is their burial sight. They want their loved ones to be remembered.

Since I haven’t visited the sight I don’t know what else is planned for the non-Christians that died. I would assume all religions and non-religious would be honored at the sight.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover A lot was found on the site and not all people that died or helped (as in firefighters or medical staff/volunteers) were Christian. Why is there a need for those who were Christian to be remembered in an additional way than for all who died? Since there is not single way to honor the ‘non-religious’, I’m assuming they will say they don’t need an additional symbol. Which I agree with, so take the cross away. Of course, now, after it’s been put up, it’s a much harder thing to do because people will get uppity. Therefore, I really believe they shouldn’t have placed it there in the first place.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Why is there a need for those who were Christian to be remembered in an additional way than for all who died? I don’t look at is in “in addition to”. A cross is found at any Christian burial sight.

Plucky's avatar

People freaked out about the mosque idea too. Seriously, you know how many people of many different religions must have died there? How are they going to honour everyone else? I think it’s silly for people to be “ok” with the cross but not the mosque. All or none, I think.

Either way, I agree with your views on the religous aspect. It’s just another attempt to force-feed Christianity to Americans ..bleh.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover Right, but it features so prominently into the museum’s front…one wonders why. It’s not a regular burial site, it’s a museum in remembrance. I’m sure those that died have their own burial sites with whatever appropriate pieces on their graves, do they not?

El_Cadejo's avatar

Because we live in America

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@uberbatman Right, but I don’t have to like this particular aspect of America that is made to seem universal and relevant to all when it isn’t.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir oh, i definitely agree with you just saying thats sadly how it is.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I understand your point. Not all families received remains to bury. Some families got a wallet or a piece of jewelry, not a body. The burial place would be where the body or in this case ashes are.

I think the bigger discussion is whether you believe here in America we have a freedom of religion or freedom from religion.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover I believe in both, actually…which is why I agree with @Plucky – either you go through the pains of trying to be super inclusive or you leave it non-specific.

tom_g's avatar

From the article: “The National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc., is exempt from federal income tax. The organization’s revenue in 2010 totaled nearly $90 million, of which $70 million was provided by government grants.”

That’s it right there. Public funds. This is a violation of church/state. If it was some private museum, I wouldn’t care.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’d have it be super inclusive, by asking each family how they normally remember loved ones at their burials/funerals. However, I’m not on the planning board.

We would like to visit the sight. I’d prefer to know that all of the people that died there were properly buried and remembered.

In the area I reside, we have native burials that are treated with great respect.
At the native burials there are usually signs explaining the whys/hows of the sight. I’d expect a place where a national tragedy occurred would get the same deserved respect as a native sight. To me that means a remembrance of all religions/non-religions somehow.

Will there be something like this at the museum? Will each person be remembered with a written memorial that includes their religious/non-religious beliefs?

@tom_g Our public museum has crosses, totem poles and more depending on the exhibit. Some of those items were purchased with public funding.

cockswain's avatar

There were Jews and Muslims killed that day. Probably Hindus too. I say if public funds are being used, put up a symbol to honor the beliefs of each of those groups as they would traditionally have at their burial site, or exclude all of them.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tom_g Of course, if it was a private museum, this wouldn’t be an issue other than there are so many private Christian things than any other things and it’s harder (ahem, mosque building barrier much?) to get other things up and running.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover I’m trying to conduct more research right now but because igoogle and google have sold out, all I’m getting is spam when I try to hit on links and it’s uber-frustrating.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I want to add, I do think the lawsuit is a fair one. I firmly believe in equality.

I can’t find a photo of the Star of David that will be added to the sight. Has anyone seen it? Is it of a similar size?

What would atheists want at the sight?

@Simone_De_Beauvoir same trouble on my end

tom_g's avatar

@SpatzieLover: “What would atheists want at the sight?”

Either no religious monuments, or an absurd collection of every possible religious symbol (equal size and positioning) that could represent every taxpayer in this country. That includes Pastafarianism.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover Wtf is with that?! Is that a bug or what? God!
I can’t get into any articles, as you know, but from what I read before a star and a jewish prayer shawl will be added…and a bible will be fused…have heard nothing about any Muslim symbols.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I don’t know…maybe a hacker or virus? Google is effed UP!

Possibly this lawsuit will bring about a Muslim group that will add something to the sight. Lawsuits like this one can be eye-opening for public awareness.

Considering I live far from the sight, I had no idea all religions weren’t being honored.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@SpatzieLover I am thinking the planners felt this would be an even greater fuck-you to the Mosque-building people. All these things always come down to some random people, one or two, in some private meeting doing things in a very biased way. And we’re all guilty of that kind of thing, I know.

wundayatta's avatar

Is this going to be a public or a private building?

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – From the article: “The National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center Foundation, Inc., is exempt from federal income tax. The organization’s revenue in 2010 totaled nearly $90 million, of which $70 million was provided by government grants.”

jaytkay's avatar

Why is there a need for those who were Christian to be remembered in an additional way than for all who died?

Because there are a lot of loudmouth “Christians” who throw tantrums if Christianity is not displayed everywhere. Or if any other religion is honored anywhere.

A golden calf would represent their mentality better than a cross.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jaytkay Well, whatever I think of whomever’s mentality (I’d rather keep anti-christian talk out of this thread), it’s just maddening to have to explain to your kids, for example, why everything around is default Christian just like it is default men or default white people.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g Thanks for the info. I still don’t know the answer to my question. But if it is a privately managed company, then they can do whatever I want. So the answer to this question is because management wants it.

If they are public, then it’s different kettle of fish.

tom_g's avatar

@wundayatta – I don’t care if they think they are a privately managed company, etc. They are publicly-funded. If they wanted to do whatever they want, they shouldn’t have accepted public funding.

jaytkay's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I’m not ant-Christian. I am anti-loudmouth.

mazingerz88's avatar

Guess it’s not easy to answer this without saying something anti-Christian. Point blank, there is a cross there because they think their religion is the superstar of all religions. I was a hardcore Catholic. I know.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jaytkay We have got to put that on a shirt. However, that’s what people are saying about the atheist group filing the lawsuit, that they’re loudmouths.

SpatzieLover's avatar

@mazingerz88 if you were hardcore catholic then you know we’d want a crucifix and the Virgin Mary present at the sight

mazingerz88's avatar

@SpatzieLover Yes indeed. Mama Mary and a huge Rosary as well. I would also prefer St. Jude, my favorite saint.

YoBob's avatar

Well, to be blunt, I think you need to get over the fact that Christians and Jews have every right to commemorate those killed in a direct attack by a radical fundamentalist Islamic group by placing the emblems of their faith at the site.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob I was never ‘under’ the fact or obsessed with it. Sure they do, but they weren’t the only ones killed. And they weren’t killed because they were Christians and Jews, either.

mazingerz88's avatar

@YoBob So the attack on 911 was a religious fight as in Muslims vs Christians? I thought there was more to it than that.

tom_g's avatar

@YoBob – I think your post got cut off. You’re missing the part in which you explain why taxpayer money can go to a couple of religious symbols and exclude others, and why this isn’t a separation issue.

wundayatta's avatar

@tom_g Just because they are good at fundraising doesn’t mean they should give up their rights. If I have a club that is atheists only and I manage to get my club funded from federal grants, does that mean I have to let people of other religions in?

I think that whoever owns the property gets to set the rules as far as religion is concerned. If the public owns it, then there should be no religious icons.

jaytkay's avatar

you need to get over the fact that Christians and Jews have every right to commemorate those killed in a direct attack by a radical fundamentalist Islamic group

So a crescent on the site for the Muslims killed by the radical fundamentalist Islamic group would be cool, right?

Nobody would object, right?

YoBob's avatar

Hmm… I must have missed the part about this being publicly funded.

I did not, however, miss the part that explained that the icon in question happens to be a chunk of rubble that happens to be in the shape of a cross.

Apparently if you practice radical fundamentalist Islam you can crash airplanes into public buildings in the name of your religion the rabid atheist crowd will generally give you a pass, but notice that a chunk of the remaining rubble pile resembles a christian symbol and they will jump all over you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@YoBob If it’s a chunk of rubble, you should then have no problem simply putting it into garbage. And, just so you are better informed, this atheist never gave any terrorist a pass on murder.

jaytkay's avatar

Apparently if you practice radical fundamentalist Islam you can crash airplanes into public buildings in the name of your religion the rabid atheist crowd will generally give you a pass,

Dishonest straw man argument. Nobody is doing that.

incendiary_dan's avatar

How about they put an image of the god we can be much more sure the majority of them worshipped: money.

Too accurate?

rOs's avatar

Why do belief systems feel the need to slap their label on everything?

everephebe's avatar

Oh my god that cross is HUGE! Since the cross is disrespectful of everyone else, I’d leave it out.
It really sends the wrong message to the rest of the world too.

There is a church near-by the site, send the cross there, problem solved.

incendiary_dan's avatar

It’s kind of a neat artifact, so I think it should stay at the museum. But putting it front and center like that is too much.

Plucky's avatar

It reminds me of those Mary’s that cry blood, Jesus toast, Jesus cheesies/potato chips, and Mary shaped oil stains…etc. I had a Jesus cross cheesie once – I ate it. It’s silly; I wonder how many “intact” cross beams they found and what made them keep this one as opposed to the rest – guess it was the most intact. Um it’s just metal.

incendiary_dan's avatar

The cross isn’t exactly a hard to come by shape. Guess that’s part of the attraction. You never see Asatruar seeing valknuts in everything. Too damn complicated of a shape. I like that. :P

Anyone remember that guy who auctioned the “Pope Hat Dorito”? It was just a Dorito that had rolled in at the corners. Someone still spent over a million on it. The guy was so amused.

dabbler's avatar

The memorial is going to be a public site with literally busloads of tourists rolling up on a regular basis.
One of the ideas I liked for the plaques with the victims’ names on them, put a religious symbol next to each to represent their faith. This would clearly show that there were people of several faiths killed in the event. The biggest drawback was no good idea what to put for the agnostics/atheists among them, and it would seem disrespectful to them. I think it was wisely decided to leave all the symbols off.

Blackberry's avatar

Wow, that cross is huge….
I don’t think it’s an extreme or loudmouth view that this cross should not be there. I would really like to know if the people that put it there do know that it shouldn’t be there. Some people think that just because a lot of christians happen to live here, that makes the U.S. a de facto christian nation, and I doubt whoever had a hand in this was completely ignorant of the fact that the cross shouldn’t be there.

I really have no problem with christianity, except when it comes to things like this that are an obvious violation. I feel like someone has done this on purpose to make a statement that christians are still the majority or something. But I could also just be paranoid…..

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Blackberry Paranoid like a fox!

Blackberry's avatar

@incendiary_dan Yeah, I mean it is possible they didn’t know it receives government funds.

Joker94's avatar

I don’t really see anything wrong with it. A symbol only has a meaning if you give it one.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Joker94 That’s precisely the problem. Lots of people ascribe meaning to it.

Joker94's avatar

@incendiary_dan And they have the right too. Likewise, people have the right too put no meaning to it whatsoever. It’s just a cross, after all. If a banner were hanging from it reading, “CHRISTIANITY IS THE ONLY TRUE PATH TO SALVATION.” or something, that would be stupid.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Even if it were simply about the interpretation by individuals, that’s an extremely over-simplified and functionally useless outlook. But it’s not just about that. Symbols have real world consequences. People act based on symbols and philosophies. Symbols are used routinely to breed nationalism and intolerance as much as they are anything else. Any social scientist would say the same.

Joker94's avatar

Maybe you’re right, I dunno. I just don’t put as much value on it as some people might. I personally don’t see anything wrong with it, nor would I find anything wrong with any other religious symbol being there. Except Scientology I think the people that value faith, or their lack thereof, in an overly intense manner would be problematic in this situation, not the symbol itself.

josie's avatar

Last time I visited ground zero, there was this Chinese guy (who could not, or would not, speak English) handing out adverts for a Chinese restaurant. It sort of pissed me off.
I figure everybody has something to be pissed off about at that place.
So, what’s the difference?

tom_g's avatar

@YoBob: “Apparently if you practice radical fundamentalist Islam you can crash airplanes into public buildings in the name of your religion the rabid atheist crowd will generally give you a pass, but notice that a chunk of the remaining rubble pile resembles a christian symbol and they will jump all over you.”

That is without a doubt the most egregious use of straw man logical fallacy I have seen in years. Can I use this quote elsewhere to demonstrate logical fallacies?
Are you sure this wasn’t some sarcasm dripping in layers of irony that I just don’t understand?

josie's avatar

They should probably put a Crescent there too.
Aren’t we all victims in one way or another?

cockswain's avatar

@YoBob Really? I know of no atheist that gave the terrorists on 9/11 a free pass and thinks what they did was OK.

sakura's avatar

From reading the article it seems that the cross has been placed in the museum as it was found at the twin towers devastation. The fact that it is a cross is giving some hope and faith and comfort to those who lost people on 911. I seem to get the impression that it has been included in the museum as an artefact that was found on site and not for any major religious meaning. Yes it will bring comfort to those who are of the Christian persuasion as it looks like a cross…what is wrong with this notion? I am sure that people form other relegion will find comfort from other symbols, it just so happens that a cross is an easier symbol to identify when reclaiming cross section beams, therefore easier to reclaim.

It does not seem to say that the cross structure itself is costing the tax payer money, rather the museum itself is. If people of other faiths or no faith want a symbol from their faith to be recognised then i am sure someone could design something as a fitting memorial, but as for the cross, it is a FREE exibition (as it was “created” during the tragedy and will offer some comfort to some people and surely this is better then none at all to anyone?

Hibernate's avatar

This is an interesting issue that worths some follow up later.

Blackberry's avatar

@sakura “not for any major religious meaning.”

Yes, the beams created a cross, so people said, “Hey, that doesn’t remind anyone of anything at all, let’s just put it up and have people make a prayer circle right next to it (from a picture on the website).”

“Hey, can we also put this regular straight beam up as well?”
”........No…”. Lol.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Blackberry Then how will I celebrate Festivus?

Blackberry's avatar

@incendiary_dan I had to look that up lol. Now I have to see that episode.

filmfann's avatar

Why are some people so anal about a symbol that brings many people a little comfort?

Blackberry's avatar

@filmfann There was a question about asking someone if their engaged offspring lives with their SO. We determined that it wasn’t the question that is offensive, but the motive or meaning behind the question.

I believe that some see a motive or meaning behind this, and it could possibly have stemmed from the other patent offenses to the separation of church and state in the past.

tom_g's avatar

@filmfann: “Why are some people so anal about a symbol that brings many people a little comfort?”

I have no idea. Wait – what does “anal” mean in this context? I’m getting all confused.

incendiary_dan's avatar

Bagels no, Festivus yes!

everephebe's avatar

I think they should include a bagel at the museum, as a symbol of the hundreds of secular Jews that died that day and of the united resolve of New Yorkers to continue on after tragedy.

jaytkay's avatar

If there is no bag of hammers, box of rocks and a teabag prominently displayed, then the entire project is simply an insult, How else can we pay tribute to the conservatives who REALLY UNDERSTAND 9/11 unlike the elitist liberal New Yorkers who were merely killed that day.

King_Pariah's avatar

Because as much as we like to say we don’t mix church and state we do?

martianspringtime's avatar

To ward off the ‘evils of the mosque’?
Being serious though, I didn’t know about this until seeing this question. I don’t really think it’s a big deal. I’m sure a lot of the people who died – or almost more significantly, their loved ones – were of the Christian faith, and the symbol surely brings comfort to them in the aftermath of their loss. Other religious symbols shouldn’t be rejected, nor should this one. The cross represents hope in the face of death to a lot of people I think, not just the strictly religious. I don’t have any attachments to it, but I don’t think it’s hurting anyone to have it there.

sakura's avatar

Is it not the people that have created the prayer circle not the museum…therefore not the museum making it a religious artifact???

mazingerz88's avatar

The real mystery is why didn’t they design the whole new World Trade Center building in the shape of a cross?!

The reason why it’s there is people who want it there just don’t give a s*#t about what other religions or agnostics and especially atheists would think. It’s their God for god’s sake! No government ruling would make them think twice about putting it there. They are mourning the dead, they are faithful people, they are well meaning people, they think and feel they can’t be criticized for being good! It’s not there problem if you don’t have a religion. Join them, go get one and if not, shut up! Even if they understand an aetheist’s rights and sentiment, they would feel guilty they are being made to feel like they are ashamed of their faith, hence they would fight tooth and nail to keep it there. See?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@filmfann I get you don’t get why the cross is an object of contention. To you, it’s a positive object, to me it’s not. It looks arrogant to me to put it up there so prominently and to imply that it’s somehow more important than any other object was to a person who wasn’t Christian. Sure I’m anal about it, it’s everywhere where it doesn’t belong. What do you want me to tell my child as to why it’s there?

tom_g's avatar

@filmfann – And if you want some more insight into what us crazy atheists think…On September 11, 2001 we saw an example of what unjustified belief (religion) can result in. For another religion to mark the spot seems absurd. Christians and Muslims have much more in common with each other than atheists and Muslims. Christians understand the crazy to some degree. Islam is just another Abrahamic religion. Us atheists are standing on the side wondering when the population will drop this crap.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Faux News messages looks like a bad day of YouTube :(...BUT people post their pictures with the posts

Hibernate's avatar

@mazingerz88 remember that the dollar has something written on it ” in GOD we trust”. Oh and wait. In the early ‘20 more than half of your Constitution was based on principles found in the Bible.

Oh and one more thing. The cross is used by Christianity as a symbol but the real symbol of Christianity is a fish.

@tom_g you should know that Christians are more tolerant to what atheists stand for while for a Muslim if you don’t share his views you are an infidel [no matter what your religion is or isn’t]

tom_g's avatar

@Hibernate: ”@tom_g you should know that Christians are more tolerant to what atheists stand for while for a Muslim if you don’t share his views you are an infidel [no matter what your religion is or isn’t]”

Yep. I’m aware of the spectrum – and I’m quite vocal about that here. Is there a reason this comment is directed at me?—Also, you might be scolded by some people here if you say “Christians”. I believe the flutherly-correct way to word this is ”some Christians” and ”some Muslims” and ”some atheists”.

Blackberry's avatar

@Hibernate Just because christians aren’t committing acts of terrorism doesn’t mean you guys are any “better”. That’s like saying gays should be thankful because instead of killing them we’re only discriminating against them. Oh, thank you for being so considerate. t^^t

Hibernate's avatar

Muslims have something that’s called Jihad. And when they’ll take this to the “let’s protect Islam” part then… I can’t even imagine. Most of then don’t want to see it as the “holy war” but non-militant actions are out of the question when it comes to the extremists.

@tom_g I directed that to you because you said “some insight on what , we crazy atheists think” then you explained it.

tom_g's avatar

@Hibernate – I’m not sure I see how your comments are in any way a response to what I said.

Hibernate's avatar

You said and I’ll quote:
@filmfann – And if you want some more insight into what us crazy atheists think…On September 11, 2001 we saw an example of what unjustified belief (religion) can result in. For another religion to mark the spot seems absurd. Christians and Muslims have much more in common with each other than atheists and Muslims. Christians understand the crazy to some degree. Islam is just another Abrahamic religion. Us atheists are standing on the side wondering when the population will drop this crap. ”

I just stated Christianity is more tolerant to atheists then Islam. If you don’t share Islamic believes than you are seen as an outsider [I believe the terms is more appropriate].

tom_g's avatar

@Hibernate – I went back and found this quote, and again – I have no idea where the “christianity is more tolerant” thing fits into what I was saying at all. Please make the connection for me. Treat me like I’m a child. I’m serious.

Hibernate's avatar

Serious or not it’s beside the point. I’m sorry you misunderstood me OR that I wasn’t clear enough. I start to think that your initial post was made in a sarcastic manner and I read it as being for real. Now we get here where we don’t understand each other. Sorry again. Next time I’ll first ask if you mean it or is made just for personal amusement.

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