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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/28/2013 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Firefighter wants to erect 9-11 memorial, atheists object.

Atheists are threatening to sue a Jewish man if he displays a 9-11 artifact marked with a cross in a public space. The Trenton, NJ Firefighter is simply trying to honor others who suffered and died on that day.

Princeton Deputy Fire Chief Roy James with the beam he hopes to erect as a memorial to those who died on 9-11.

Princeton Deputy Fire Chief Roy James with the beam he hopes to erect as a memorial to those who died on 9-11.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/28/2013 (7 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Silverman, atheists, 9-11, memorial, cross, religion, extremism


TRENTON, NJ (Catholic Online) - Princeton Deputy Fire Chief Roy James, hopes to erect a memorial to those who died on 9-11 using a beam selected from the World Trade Center with the shape of a cross cut out of it.

Following the disaster, many crosses and Stars of David were cut from beams and given to family members.

The plan is to erect the bean at a public space so others can visit the memorial and experience a piece of history and contemplate the events of that day.

However, the American Atheists, led by David Silverman, says the display would be "offensive."

"I'm a Jew," James told Fox News. "Ironically, I'm fighting to have this cross there because I believe that someone's story is behind that. That story needs to be told. It has nothing to do with religious faith. It has something to do with telling history."

"We got a historic piece," James continued. "There's so much behind that. If we do not show the cross, we are leaving out someone's story. We are basically saying someone's emotions that day didn't matter."

Silverman objects to the display because not everyone who died that day was Christian. Just as Christians died, so too did Jews, Muslims, and probably atheists. He also objects to the display on public property because it could represent a government endorsement of religion.

As an alternative, Silverman suggested a public free speech area where monuments from all religions could be erected. Of course, this would also allow for a backdoor move by the atheists to erect a monument of their own.

Nobody would have any objection to a genuine atheist monument to the memory of the dead and the tragedy of that day, however what's more likely is that their monument would simply be a debater's response to the original.

A similar thing happened in Florida, where a Ten Commandments display was approved in front of a courthouse. Atheists retaliated by posting their own display, including quotes that were intended to criticize the Ten Commandments display.

Now, the Trenton City Council and mayor must decide if the memorial is worth the fight. American Atheists is known for its lawsuits over famous issues and this would make a case worthy of national attention. Rather than fight the case, Trenton may find it easier to fold and do nothing.

While that takes away the spotlight from the atheists, it also means a well-intended memorial won't be erected, at least not on public property where all can experience it.

Interestingly, the 9-11 attacks were a product of religious extremism. Now a new form of extremism threatens to keep a well-intentioned memorial from display. Perhaps it isn't religion that's bad -but extremism?

Now there's a lesson worth sharing.

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