Atheists fight to have 9-11 cross removed?
The lawyers said in papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Monday that the 17-foot-tall beam will be displayed as a historical object because it tells part of the story of the rescue and recovery effort after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which destroyed the twin towers and killed thousands of people.
They said the display of the cross among 1,000 artifacts, photos, oral histories and videos is no different from the showing of hundreds of religious paintings routinely displayed at government-supported art museums.
The nonprofit group American Atheists sued the National September 11 Memorial & Museum's operators last year, saying the beam's display would be unconstitutional.
Lawyers for the memorial operators said in their papers that the steel beam, found by rescue workers two days after the terror attacks, was an inspiration. They said workers "took solace in its symbolism as they searched for survivors and found mostly victims."
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