Virtual Voices

Atheists' cross to bear

Religion

A couple of weeks ago, I fell into a YouTube vortex. Know what I mean? I was reading a book about the eventual breakdown of the RMS Titanic's infrastructure in the next few years. In Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy, the author said he gained insight into how the ship collapsed by examining how the World Trade Center towers came down. I went to YouTube to watch videos of the towers falling, which led to videos of people choosing to jump to their deaths rather than suffocate or burn. Those videos led to a documentary about firefighters inside the North Tower when the South Tower collapsed.

I was angry all over again.

Many Americans were righteously angry. During the operation to clear the debris, a worker discovered two crossed steel beams amid the rubble. The cross came to symbolize faith and hope, and some workers prayed there. Last year, the cross was moved to a permanent location: 70 feet in the ground where the towers once stood where it would become part of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum exhibit. The museum is scheduled to open next month.

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The Christian faith is an undeniable part of America's foundation. It undergirds Western civilization itself. The Muslims who rained fiery destruction down on America did so in the name of their god and against our faith and way of life. The presence of that steel cross probably quelled a lot anger and bitterness about the loss of life. Only empathy-challenged cynics would mount a legal fight against it.

Atheists enter, stage left.

The American Atheists filed suit last year against the museum and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to have either the cross removed or other religious symbols erected alongside it. They made the usual separation of church and state claim, but added a twist. The unbelieving plaintiffs said they've "suffered, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross … 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 and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center."

Someone wrote that with a straight face. The atheists' lawsuit is back in the news because the American Center for Law and Justice filed an amicus brief on Monday on the defendants' behalf. Chief counsel Jay Sekulow called the arguments "offensive and absurd."

Perhaps all that "suffering" has to do with suppressing the knowledge of God. As we read in Romans 1, since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, including His eternal power and Godhead. The unbelievers exchanged this truth for the lie. They worship the creature rather than the Creator.

If the American Atheists win, they might feel righteous, but only for a season. The real victory has been won, as symbolized by the cross.

La Shawn Barber
La Shawn Barber

La Shawn writes about culture, faith, and politics. Her work has appeared in the Christian Research Journal, Christianity Today, the Washington Examiner, and other publications

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