Does a cross belong among the artifacts to be displayed at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum? The question, apparently, has become a point of contention.
At The Blaze reported last week, some -- mainly atheists -- say that a steel cross that was formed when the Twin Towers collapsed back in 2001 should not be included in a new museum intended to remember the lives lost during the tragic terror attack.
According to American Atheists (the same organization that coordinated July 4 plane banners in cities across the nation), the cross’ inclusion constitutes an “impermissible mingling of church and state.”
Over the weekend, in response to a lawsuit launched by American Atheists, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg directly addressed the impending legal battle that seeks to prevent the cross from being displayed at the memorial. Speaking in his weekly radio address, Bloomberg said that, though the group has the "right to sue," he personally believes that the inclusion of religious symbols at the 9/11 museum should be allowed:
"A lot of people looked to religion for strength after the attack. My personal opinion [has] always been you shouldn't tell people what religion to practice or whether to practice a religion but you shouldn't also prevent people from practicing a religion they want in any ways they want."
Additionally, Bloomberg, who is named in the lawsuit, noted that Christianity isn't the only faith being represented at the memorial. The Christian Post reports:
They include a Star of David cut from a piece of steel from the World Trade Center rubble, a Bible fused with a piece of steel found during the recovery effort and a Jewish prayer shawl.
But, Bloomberg's defense of the symbol also extended beyond religious tones and covered the cross' historical value:
"This influenced people. It gave them strength. 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."
While some have criticized the mayor for his open support for the so-called Ground Zero mosque, this newfound call to allow the cross at the museum shows a level of consistency. It seems the city's top leader takes religious freedom to what some may consider extremes, believing that everyone -- regardless of his or her faith -- has a right to be heard. This mentality even applies to the Atheists who are launching the suit:
"This group of atheists, they're free in our country to not believe and not practice and we should defend their right to do that just as much as we should defend the right of every individual to practice and to believe."
Aside from Bloomberg, others named in the complaint are the state of New Jersey, New York City, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Below, watch an ABC News report on the American Atheists' lawsuit:
(h/t Christian Post)