Princeton (New Jersey) Fire Company deputy chief Roy James really wants to put up a 9/11 memorial in the city. The centerpiece would be a 10-foot-long steel beam from the wreckage of the World Trade Center… but it has a cross cut out of it.
And that’s the problem: Is this really about honoring the victims of 9/11 or promoting Christianity by way of an emotionally-charged display that no one has the heart to say no to?
To be clear, no lawsuit has been filed by any atheist group, but there could be one in the future if this obviously-Christian display goes up. You may remember that American Atheists sued (and lost) over a display of two beams in the shape of a cross that ended up in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The loss came in part because one could argue that this wasn’t a deliberate promotion of Christianity, but a symbol that came to have special meaning for Christians in the aftermath of the attacks.
There’s none of that ambiguity in Princeton, though. There are, of course, alternatives: The display could simply cover up the cross (or keep it hidden from view) or be moved to private property. But you won’t see Christian groups getting behind either of those options because they want to see Christianity promoted in the public square.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)