I suppose on some level I try not to take sides on this blog. Where that “some level” actually resides, however, is very much open to debate. But in this case, the case of American Atheists wanting “equal representation” in the soon-to-be National September 11 Memorial and Museum, I am just so itchy with irksomeness.
Here’s the skinny:
In the aftermath of the World Trade Center imploding in on itself and crumbling to the ground steel workers on the scene erected a cross made of the steel from the wreckage. This cross was said to be in honor of those that died in the destruction, but also nodded to the “crosses” that appeared in the rubble on their own (see picture above).
Here’s the steel workers cross:
Now, a new museum and memorial is about to open and Joe Daniels, president and chief executive of said museum and memorial, is planning on having the 17-foot steel “911 cross” on display. He says it’s a major piece of history. Atheists say…well…here’s what The Atlantic Wire is reporting David Silverman, president of American Atheists, as saying:
“They can allow every religious position to put in a symbol of equal size and stature, or they can take it all out, but they don’t get to pick and choose.”
- (Me) But, I don’t think every religious symbol made it’s way into the burning molten pit of carnage that took the place of where the buildings were….
“The Christian community found a piece of rubble that looked like an icon and they deified it. But really 9/11 had nothing to do with Christianity.”
- (Me) Well, 9/11 means different things to different people. I suppose if 9/11 means, that is, represents a Godless world, and atheists had gathered early on to represent that world with a piece of rubble, and it had become a semiotic emotion-fest similar in effect to that of the cross, than I suppose it too would be put in the museum. Unfortunately, the atheists were a little Johnny-come-lately on this one.
The obvious rebuttal to all this is that having the cross on exhibit shows an accurate representation of people’s responses to the events, religiously inspired or otherwise.
But, that doesn’t take into account the emotional anguish atheists experience over feeling underrepresented. From Gothamist:
“according to a lawsuit filed by American Atheists, the cross’s side effects include “dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”
mid-15c., “slops fed to pigs,” from hog (n.) + wash. Extended to “cheap liquor” (1712) then to “inferior writing” (1773).
This isn’t the first time American Atheists have fought to keep our city streets clean of religious anything. A few weeks back they began working to get the “Seven in Heaven” street sign removed in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
In the end, I feel like the atheists will defs be well represented at the museum. There will be flooring material for people to walk on. There will probably be a good amount of sheetrock and plaster. Then, of course, there will be all the money collected at the door. And let’s not forget the people walking through the museum themselves. That’s living, breathing, humanism at work!
You see, you can’t beat ’em. Atheists always win in the end.