This week, the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed a complaint about the painting of 9/11 cross, which has been posted in a waiting room within the Camden County Courthouse. The complaint was not taken well by the County Commissioner:
“This is something that’s been here for quite a while, and I don’t think we should have to take it down just because of others’ opinions,” said Melanie Thompson. However, Camden County Presiding Commissioner Greg Hasty says the painting is not coming down. He cites a federal court ruling in 2013 which said the Ground Zero Cross was allowed to remain on display at the 9/11 Museum because there’s no evidence the display of the historic artifact entangles the government with religion.
One can argue whether, or not, two steel beams meeting at 90 degree angles has a special meaning in a building that was built with hundreds, if not thousands, of such beams throughout the structure. That said, it is more telling to see previous responses to the actual 9/11 cross.
Father Brian Jordan call it a message. Now here was God explaining Himself. It was a revelation, proof that “God had not abandoned Ground Zero,” even as the awful excavations continued.
And yet, something did arise. Digging amid the ruins of Ground Zero, where the Twin Towers had collapsed only a month before, one of the rescue workers discovered something he felt to be a miracle. Two steel beams from the wreckage had fallen together, and landed in the form of a cross. The cross was set upright in the middle of the wreckage, to cast its shadow—literally and symbolically—over the scene. News spread quickly, and soon firefighters, police officers, and construction workers were making “pilgrimages” to the cross, to pray and reflect on the 9/11 attack. In that bleak landscape of despair, the “Hero’s Cross,” as it came to be called, became a source of spiritual strength. At a blessing service before that site, a Franciscan friar offered these words: “Behold the glory of the cross at Ground Zero,” he said. “This is our symbol of Hope. Our symbol of Faith. Our symbol of Healing.”
So what do we do with the claim that “there’s no evidence the display of the historic artifact entangles the government with religion?”
Personally, I can see how the museum might display it as an artifact, just any good history museum might have display of Zeus and Jupiter, without implying it to be an endorsement to the idea. However, to put the cross in the Camden County Courthouse waiting room is just not the same. It is clearly pushing one religion. To argue otherwise is just wrong.
And, by the way, it is not even that good of a drawing…