Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News

72% of Americans polled say 9/11 Cross belongs at the NYC memorial

When workers were cleaning up after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, they found a steel girder that had been sheared on both sides to form a cross.

The 9/11 cross as discovered in the ruins of the World Trade

As America cheered, workers raised the cross-shaped steel beam in the midst of the rubble as a symbol of hope.

Now an atheist group is suing to keep the historic cross — which has enormous meaning to millions of Americans –from being included in the memorial being built on the site of the fallen World Trade Center, saying it violates the separation of church and state.


According to a new Rasmussen poll, 72 percent of Americans disagree, saying the cross should be included in the memorial on the Twin Towers site. Only 10 percent oppose the cross. Seventeen percent are undecided.

That pretty much reflects the face of America — with different surveys reporting that between 75 and 85 percent of Americans consider themselves Christians while only a tiny but very activist and votal minority is atheist.

Beliefnet columnist Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, says the center will file an amicus brief in support of the cross display.

U.S. Congressman Randy Forbes has called the atheists’ legal efforts “sad and misguided.”

The survey asked 1,000 adults to share their opinion about the tiny group of atheists suing to keep the steel cross. The majority of survey participants, 68 percent, believe the U.S. Constitution calls for the separation of church and state. Yet, 72 percent of respondents say they are in favor of having the cross included in the World Trade Center memorial – a result that indicates Americans see no church-state violation with the 9/11 cross, according to Rasmussen.


The American Atheists filed a lawsuit last week seeking to have the cross removed from the memorial, saying it “constitutes an unlawful attempt to promote a specific religion on governmental land” and is “repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.”

The cross as it now stands near Ground Zero

The lawsuit names the museum, New York, New Jersey, as well as NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as defendants. Bloomberg, responding to the lawsuit in a recent radio address, said American Atheists have a constitutional right to sue but that those who found strength and hope in the makeshift cross also have a right to apply importance to the Christian symbol.


“This influenced people. It gave them strength,” Bloomberg said last Friday. “In a museum, you want to show things that impacted people’s behavior back then even if you don’t think it was right. It’s history. Museums are for history and to teach people by example, well this is what people did back then and you are free to make your own decision.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kenneth

    And 72% of americans didn’t graduate college either.

    Religion is for uneducated fools.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dennis Sadler

    Unfortunately for that 72%, you don’t get to vote on the separation of church and state.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    only an uneducated fool would set himself up to judge people they could not possibly know, and their level of education.
    Awesome monument I hope a fight over it does not overshadow it’s reverence.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Atheist4_35yrs

    The article was so funny, a tiny but very active atheist group. That statement is as stupid as saying there’s a god.
    You may think it’s a small group, before you even realize that “tiny group” will be the majority in the future. Fairy tales need uneducated followers, hopefully in another 10 years we’ll have less uneducated people and less religious zombies.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment cknuck

    you are stupid, we’re smarter is very childlike and clearly shows intelligence level. Atheism is a religion based on faith and it takes a lot of faith to claim one knows everything so much so that they can know the universe and everything there is to know about time, from the beginning to the end. since they don’t know and would be an idiot to believe they do they are who they are by faith.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment oldDog

    So since some of you have no beliefs, you want to dictate what can and can’t be seen by those of us that do.

    For lots of Americans the 911 site is as sacred as a place of worship. Opps, I forgot you don’t believe in those either. And again, since you don’t believe the rest of the people that do believe must be wrong.

    So when should we start demolishing churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples? Soon?

    You’re just “fundamentalists” w/o a religion.

    Sad, very sad.

  • Pingback: Americans Get It – No Constitutional Crisis With Cross at Ground Zero - Faith & Justice

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Elizabeth

    This monument is for all United States people, not just Christians. No symbol of any religious affiliation should be put on this or any US monument. It would be different if it were memorializing the Birmingham church bombings. Only 75% of the US identify as Christian. I wonder how many Jews and Muslims and Buddhists …. died on Sept 11? We, those of us who believe in God, should all be spending our time praying for peace, together.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeremy Smith

    To be an atheist (to say there is no God) you yourself would have to be all knowing (Omniscience) and we know that this is not true. So you claim that there is no God by claiming one of his attributes. Do you know everything? Half of everything? A quarter of everything? NO. I will pray for each one of you that he helps you see through your ignorance!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Will

    Just because the state can’t sponsor a religion doesn’t mean it is ignorant of it. The idea behind the separation is to guarantee that the government can’t force any religion down your throat unlike the countries that the pilgrims came from. The same freedom that guarantees you the right to be an atheist, not a right to not be exposed to Christianity or any other religion.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Steve

    What happened to tolerance, we must have tolerance except for Christianity. Gee, I guess when I went to college I didn’t learn much as I still believe even more so.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary Ann

    It needs to STAY its a sign that those people who died are with GOD,who else could have caused it to become a cross that is what is wrong in this world now no one BELIEVES in GOD. Well I vote it stays

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Fred Sayin

    I have an interesting question to all the atheists- How would all of you explain how all the cycles in life work so conisistently? What am I talking about? Our blood cycle, through the heart and around the body plus it’s the same for the whole human race, how about the cycle between sunrise and sunset? What is the reason for the sun not being visible in New York NY and Jerasulem at the same time?
    How about the breathing cycle, plants give us oxygen to breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide for the benefits of the plants and then the plants release oxygen to us and all the plants react the same way. What is the reason for some plants not giving out carbon monoxide like a car exhaust? Also here in America atheists are saying: “Happy Winter Solsstice” near December 25 Christmas Day celebrated around the world on the same day. So I have a friend from the state of Florida attending courses abroad in Chile, South America. Should I tell my friend to wish all his friends in Chile a ” Happy Winter Solstice?”
    If anyone answers yes it would be considered summer south of the equator when it is winter north of the equator and it’s winter south of the equator when it’s summer north of the equator. Maybe the majority of the people who worship a God whether it is Jesus, Buddha, Mother Nature, a Higher Sprit or Yahwah, We Americans should deport all the atheists in this country to Saudia Arabia where Sharia Law takes place. I wonder how vocal they would be in Saudia Arabia? After saying there is no “Allah” they would definetly be killed for being infidels. As a Christian American Citizen stop telling me and the majority of Americans want to do. Atheists if you don’t like ” under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance or the phrase: ” In God We Trust” on our money then leave this country because all of you are interfering with my first amendment right- freeodom of religion which means freedom for me to express or practice my religious beliefs, another person can not inhibit me from my religious practices including prayers to Jesus and God or whoever I consider my God to be that would be considered Freedom of Worship which is in the Russian Constituition. Atheists if you don’t like anything about this country of the United States, then leave this country. Noone is forcing you to live in this country. What reasons should this country give you the same rights as American citizens who love this country when you don’t love it, constantly complain and are not thankful for what you have. By acting as atheists I consider the fact that you are actually worshipping Satan because you believed all his lies. Stop forcing your Satan worship on me and other Christian Americans

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Woody

    The funny (and sad) thing about this, is that by the time you atheists realize how wrong you are, it will be too late.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Ogie

    I believe in All coming together, why not ALL get in UNITY, and transform a symbol of
    ALL believers and non-believers of ALL religions perished on one place where there once was Unity. Think about who’s looking down on ALL of us,and if they care what goes on that very spot.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Grad Student (Intern)

    I believe in my heart, and in my opinion atheists are lost. I wonder why? Who are they to say, “The cross must go.” Honestly, atheists don’t have anything to do with it. The atheists should stay in their place, respect the families, and the ones who lost their lives on 9/11. I think the cross should defintely stay put! Why is it so hard to keep the peace and do the right thing?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pixie

    I may get a lot of flak on this, but it seems to be more inclusive if we put up Jewish and Muslem signs as well as the cross.

    As far as athiests are concerned I find the
    same arrogance that fundamentalist Christians
    have. I do not mean all athiests but the ones that are posting here fit that definition. Why would you find those who believe in religion ignorant and uneducated? Have you actually examined all the different religions? If you haven’t then you have no reason to consider people who do believe as inferior.

    My philosophy is live and let live. I acknowlege the athiests right to believe whatever they want. Why can’t athiests do the same thing?

    I find the attitude that it is their mission to stomp out all religion as arrogant and repugnant.

    Again I will say that I realize that not all athiests are like that but the militent ones give them a bad name.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment 2rivers


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lula

    I am a CHRISTIAN and I am not ashamed to let anyone know that.GOD says that if we are ashamed of HIM, HE will be ashamed of us before HIS FATHER in heaven.I say the CROSS should stay.It didn’t by chance,appear there, it was put there by GOD, to let us know HE is in control.If you don’t like worshiping GOD,go some where else to live.Its your choice to believe or not, stop, trying to take our believes away from us.WAKE UP AMERICA,GOD is trying to tell us something.We ask GOD to BLESS AMERICA,but AMERICA needs to start BLESSING GOD.OUR Country used to be a GOD fearing Nation,what happened,AMERICANS are turning away from GOD. Why do you think we’re having all these disasters happenening everywhere?Satan is fooling alot of people.My PRAYER is that all people will find this to be true,that satan is a deceiver,and a liar.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sharyn Selskey

    while the cross is a wonderful idea, don’t forget a Mogan David for the Jewish people murdered there and the crescent moon and star for the Muslims killed as well….not the whack jobs that did it, the folks who were Muslim who worked in the towers and never made it out…..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Melissa Mason

    I think that the cross should stay right where it’s at and the athiest people should find something else to bitch about. What is it any of thier business anyway. Those people who suffered the horrer and tragedy of 9/11 should have whatever they want. All people everywhere should be able to exspress thier own faith. Athiest should go find more about why the”BigBangTheory” just happened. Stick to your science and leave faith to the real American’s. (JERKS)

  • http://THISSTORYMAKESMEANGRY!!!!!!!!!!! Deby Reinecker

    This is just great! Who do they think they are? THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED BY CHRISTIANS!!! WELL IF YOUR ARE AN ATHEIST THAT IS YOUR CHOICE, BUT REMEMBER THIS…….WHEN JESUS COMES BACK YOU WILL ALL GO TO HELL IF YOU DON’T CHANGE YOUR WAYS! I will pray for you, but you need to wake up and realize there is a better life ahead but you HAVE TO: accept Jesus as you Savior, and that is the only way to have a better life!!!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sarah

    I am an atheist, and I see nothing wrong with erecting the cross at the memorial site.
    Personally, I do not find religious symbols offensive, regardless of whether I believe in them or not. I think this cross is a symbol of hope and rebirth, not just a religious symbol, and a great memorial for those that died. It would be a centre for rememberance and quiet contemplation, and it is an important object as a remnant of the ruins. There are plenty of statues that celebrate greek gods and mythology, do we remove them because we don’t believe in them? Do we change them to suit all beliefs? No. But we still appreciate the meaning and beauty of them.
    And for atheists still raging – pick your battles. This really isn’t an issue in the grand scheme of things, and fighting against it just makes you seem petty

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