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Should the Miracle Cross be Included at 9/11 Museum? Atheists Say No

The Miracle Cross is a 17 foot tall structure made of steel crossed beams that was found amidst the rubble of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. For rescuers and believers in the Christian faith, the cross became a symbol of great comfort for tired, traumatized crews who spent days and days in that rubble.

Those behind the establishing of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum intend to include the structure in the museum, and believe it has an important place in the memory of the attacks, but lawyers representing American Atheists disagree, and recently had their arguments heard by a federal judge.

They argued that, as a religious symbol, the cross had no business being part of what amounts to government owned land (the museum will be located on land owned by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey). If it is included, the lawyers argued, there should be a display indicating that not just Christians died on September 11, but those of other faiths, as well as Atheists.

Federal Judge Reena Raggi has not issued her judgment on the case but by her comments during oral arguments it seems pretty clear which direction she is leaning.

"There are countless cases of museums including religious artifacts among their exhibits and it’s going to be described in a way that talks about the history of the object, what is the problem here?” she said in open court, directing her words to lawyers representing American Atheists. “An argument has been made that you are trying to censor history.”

The museum is set to open in May of this year. Judge Raggi's ruling may or may not arrive before then.

The Miracle Cross is a 17 foot tall structure made of steel crossed beams that was found amidst the rubble of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

For rescuers and believers in the Christian faith, the cross became a symbol of great comfort for tired, traumatized crews who spent days and days in that rubble.

Those behind the establishing of the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum intend to include the structure in the museum, but lawyers representing American Atheists disagree.

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