Poking the Sleeping Giant

In what has become the year of the vocal atheist, a district judge should strike down a high-profile case brought against September 11 Memorial by American Atheists, a nonprofit group. As has been their modus operandi, the atheists are arguing that the famous steel-beam cross found among the World Trade Center wreckage should not be included as part of the display in the Memorial, claiming that it is a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment.

In typical fashion, the American Atheists (or the other “freethinker” organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation) can be counted to stick their nose in whenever and wherever a cross happens to appear. The cross is, of course, a well-known symbol of Christianity, but atheists, of all people, seem to be the ones who are most obsessed with it. And as I have pointed out before, by the very nature of their vigil against any and every form of public Christian symbology, these atheists are actually giving Christianity far more free publicity in the American media than it ever gets on its own.

In this instance, however, the American Atheists may have overstepped even their own inflated sense of self-importance. The cross at Ground Zero (it is called “Icon of Tragedy. Sign of Comfort” according to the plaque that accompanied it for years) is much more than simply another cross. To the workers, victims’ families, and much of America, the cross is not only a symbol of Christianity; it is a symbol of resolve and healing. A symbolic reminder of what happened, what is happening, and what will happen. It is akin to the phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from the ashes of its own destruction. It is a symbol of rebirth.

In fact, according to the Memorial museum itself, the cross is an “important and essential artifact that comprises a key component of the retelling of the story of 9/11, in particular the role of faith in the events of the day and, particularly, during the recovery efforts.” Further, the museum made the point that “the 9/11 Museum is not in the business of providing equal time for faiths, we are in the business of telling the story of 9/11 and the victims of 9/11.” Indeed. The story of the WTC cross is the story of September 11, 2001. The two have become so intermingled that to tell one without the other is not to tell the real story. It would be a fabrication of history to remove the cross from the museum. And here I thought atheists were all about facts and reason (wink, nod).

While it appears that the atheists will not get their way in this instance, it may turn out to be far more significant then even they realize. Picking on small towns in Indiana and Arizona to remove public crosses is one thing, but messing with the collective conscience of an entire nation is a whole other animal. The American Atheists may have gotten far more here than they ever bargained for. Like the gay-agenda setters quickly found out, incessantly poking a sleeping giant is not a very smart tactical decision. Eventually, the giant wakes up. All signs seem to indicate that the “silent majority” is finally being aroused, thanks to gays, lesbians, and now, atheists.

Concerned citizens have been asking for years what it’s going to take to get the citizens of this country to act. I think we’re finally beginning to find out what it takes. Just wait until the giant opens both eyes.