Worthy Christian News » US News » Court Cases » Court Rules Against 'Ailing' Atheists
By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
NEW YORK (Worthy News)-- A court of appeals has unanimously ruled against ailing atheists who claimed that two steel beams in the shape of a cross found in the debris of the 2001 attack on the WTC has caused them to suffer "depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish," according to the Christian News Network.
The American Atheists group had filed suit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and then New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to remove the cross now on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan.
"This is a working Christian shrine in the memorial and then they had the gall to say it's not religious in nature that it represents everybody," said David Silverman, president of the organization. "That's not true. It does not represent Jews, Muslims, Mormons or atheists and they all had deaths on 9/11."
But in March 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Batts rejected the atheists' argument that the government's "enshrinement" of the cross excluded non-Christians from being recognized on 9/11. Batts dismissed the group's lawsuit, ruling that the cross served both a "historic and secular purpose."
American Atheists appealed the ruling to to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which unanimously agreed with Batts.
"[The] stated purpose of displaying The Cross at Ground Zero to tell the story of how some people used faith to cope with the tragedy is genuine and an objective observer would understand the purpose of the display to be secular," U.S. Circuit Judge Reena Raggi wrote on behalf of the panel.
"Such an observer would not understand the effect of displaying an artifact with such an inclusive past in a museum devoted to the history of the September 11 attacks to be the divisive one of promoting religion over nonreligion. Nor would he think the primary effect of displaying The Cross at Ground Zero to be conveying a message to atheists that they are somehow disfavored 'outsiders' while religious believers are favored 'insiders' in the political community."
After hearing of the ruling, Frank Silecchia -- an ironworker who discovered the cross in the WTC debris -- told the New York Daily News that "Faith won over atheism".
"All I can do is thank God for answering my prayer," he said.