America’s culture war took an unpleasant turn this week. A group of atheists filed a suit to take down a cross erected at the Lower Manhattan memorial to the victims of 9/11. The cross was formed from two intersecting steel beams that were found intact in the rubble. Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheists, called the display a breach of the separation between church and state. He said that the cross “has become a Christian icon. It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross.”
The story itself is a storm in a tea cup. The cross will probably stay because it has attained a cultural status beyond religious symbolism. To many viewers it is a physical reminder of the devastation and a metaphor for the resurrection of New York as a city. What is remarkable is where Silverman’s American Atheists have chosen to make their big stand. Picking on a memorial to the victims of 9/11 exposes the profound lack of sensitivity of the New Atheism and its obsessive, socially awkward edge. Some atheist activists suggested that the cross could stay if it were accompanied by symbols from other religions. They miss the point that the cross was only erected because it was found at Ground Zero. Presumably, if a fax machine had been discovered melted into the shape of Ganesh then that would have gone display, too. But that didn’t happen and it’s extraordinary, given its tragic origins, that the American Atheists can’t tolerate this modest statement. What will they protest about next? The crosses over the graves at Arlington Cemetery?
The fact is that the New Atheists aren’t interested in either pluralism or being left alone. They are iconoclasts and they enjoy breaking things. Take the case of the Mojave Cross, erected in 1934 in memory of Americans killed in war. It was a beautiful, simple white cross that stood above the rocky desert and gave comfort to millions who saw it. The problem for those who cared: it was planted on public land. For years it was subject to vandalism and law suits, until the Supreme Court ruled that it could stay after the earth it stood on was transferred to a Veterans group. In May 2010, it went missing – stolen by a protestor. Again, it’s important to stress that the Mojave Cross had never been a purely Christian monument. Like the 9/11 cross, it used a universal symbol of death and rebirth to celebrate the sacrifices of millions of America’s soldiers. Whatever lunatic stole it, it was a truly sociopathic act.
COMMENT: These are the same types running the ACLU, and run your local government offices. They deserve every brand of hurt you can inflict on them, but shunning and ridicule work great.
They're sissies and cowards. Get in their face.