The Ground Zero Cross… Again.

For some who’ve experienced losses, the cross is
A symbol of grieving, of heartbreak, of death;
They’ll flock to a church or museum to see ‘em
Defending their presence with all of their breath.
The tomb of a great many heroes, Ground Zero’s
A place to remember who answered the call;
The cross stands for good Christian brothers, but others
Have different symbols—and some, none at all.

The privileged among us will fight for the right for
Their privileged positions to carry the day;
The Christians assume God protects, and expects them
To honor His care, in the usual way.
The cross at Ground Zero is holy, but solely
For Christians, as others have quite clearly shown;
The atheists, Muslims, and Jews are just losers—
They want it to be there for Christians alone.

I can take my pick of sources… David Silverman is in the news again, fighting the Ground Zero Cross.
As always, the comments vary across sites, and as always, it is a display of Christian privilege.

Silverman is forced into the position of looking like an utter dick. The “cross”, a bit of wreckage from the ruins of the twin towers, is such a trivial thing–who could oppose its inclusion in the 9/11 memorial? Like “in god we trust” on money, it’s ceremonial deism, religion diluted homeopathically, something that should be opposed more by religious believers than by atheists…


When you read the writing on the wall, and the absolute zero of religion’s future is compared to the statistical irrelevance of ceremonial deism, suddenly the trivial battles are worth fighting, and silly crossbeams are now religious icons of the highest order. Seriously, the most common juxtaposition of beams in a heap of rubble is now worth going to the wall for. Because God, that’s why.

David Silverman does not have my stamp of approval. But he does have my sympathy. I would not take his job for a pile of gold. I doubt very much that he wants to take most of these cases, but he is in the position of taking them or ceding another few inches of territory, each and every time. So he is forced to fight.

The fact that we are fighting over more and more trivial notions is testament to Silverman’s success. The real estate we are quibbling over is smaller and smaller, and as a result, the skirmishes are more and more nasty. I mean, seriously–two bits of girder? In a building that was constructed of tons upon tons of girders welded at 90 degrees to one another? Three thousand deaths, and a couple of girders are a symbol worth fighting for?

Fight, David Silverman. Fight, Christians. The big battles are already decided.

Crosses are sooooo two years ago.


  1. machintelligence says

    Topic aside, that is a wonderful and unique rhyme scheme. And rhyming Jews are with losers has an echo of Tom Leherer for me. That is a compliment, in case there was any doubt.

    I totally agree with the sentiments as well.

  2. Randomfactor says

    If construction crews welded girders into connected triangles for reinforcement, there would have been a 9/11 Star of David.

  3. says

    N. Nescio, the problem is that the courts have been real dicks about standing lately. There have been a number of cases recently where they’ve decided that ordinary citizens don’t have standing to bring separation cases against things like misuse of their tax dollars for religious purposes. So they’re trying to show concrete harm. I’m not thrilled about that particular tactic either, but I can see why they might feel forced to resort to it.

  4. sailor1031 says

    Since doG allowed 9/11 to happen (FFS the bastard didn’t even give a warning) why would anyone want to celebrate that fact by putting doG’s favourite symbol at the Ground Zero memorial? Do they want to thank doG for his callous barbarism? Oh, yeah……got it!

  5. Anonymous Atheist says

    Part of the ‘9/11 cross’ problem is its very nontrivial size. Having a photo of it on a wall with a bunch of other photos might have been trivial enough for American Atheists to not bother going after, but real 20-feet-tall steel girders are pretty hard to overlook.

    And the Christians chose to self-destruct their ‘it’s just an artifact of no religious significance’ excuse by having people bless/pray over it, including as it was being removed from its previous display area to be lowered into the museum.

    The more of these kinds of things that get established (money, pledge, oaths, crosses on gov land, etc ad nauseum), the more they’re used to justify sneaking in or keeping in others.

  6. lordshipmayhem says

    The Xian assumption here is quite telling: apparently, in their world view, no atheists, no Hindus, no Sikhs, no Buddhists, no Jews, no Muslims (aside from the hijackers) were killed that day in the Twin Towers, just Christians. Therefore the other religious symbols (or the lack of a religion, meaning a lack of symbols) are unimportant, as are any objections to any Christian symbols.

    They are blind to anyone else’s world view. It’s their way or the highway.

  7. The Ridger says

    @lordshipmayhem: If god had wanted Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, pagans, etc to have memorial, he’d have fused some I-beams for them. He didn’t, so he doesn’t. It’s that simple, amiright?

  8. coragyps says

    I think the Christians involved are just still miffed because the few Muslim hijackers outprayed the many Christian hijacked in three of four airplanes that day.

    But it is fairly tough, you must admit, to incorporate welded stars and crescents as structural elements in most architechtures….

  9. Crudely Wrott says

    Just for the sake of clarity, the beams were not “fused together” during the collapse of the tower. They were purposely fabricated that way by crews of men, some of them no doubt blaspheming as they did so, according to a blueprint prepared by architects and engineers for the sole purpose of holding up the damned building.

    There is no indication that an invisible supernatural spook had anything to do with this particular piece of rubble. Within the structure of the tower were thousands just like it. Without a doubt many were recovered and sent off without remark. That this one just happened to come to rest as it did, above a pile of similar rubble in a conspicuous position, is its only unique feature.

    The rest is history fabricated from superstition. Let us continue to label it so, and loudly.

  10. says

    This is the third time I’ve revisited to read this. The rhythm is sublime, and extremely sticky – I’ve had it in my head since my first reading and I may have to pinch it…. er… I mean pay tribute to it in the near future.

    Your words make me happy.

  11. Makoto says

    I understand the reason, even need for his fight. Since it’s related to a tragedy, I’m more comfortable with fights about one nation under god on our money, or prayer banners in school, but it’s still a fight that must be had.

    I can also sympathize with those who see it as a symbol of hope, even if it was fabricated. If it helps people to see a symbol (even if their religion expressly forbids such icons), maybe that’s good for their grief process.

    But I really get angry with those who use it as a symbol of hate or revenge. Christians weren’t the only ones that died that day. And Islam wasn’t responsible for those deaths. Too many people use that cross, those sites as rallying cries against entire populations and religions, and that I can’t stand.

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