A lawsuit that challenges the placement of the cross at the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center alleges atheist plaintiffs have suffered serious physical and mental illness because the religious symbol has made them feel excluded.
Nonsense, says a new friend-of-the-court brief to be filed Monday in the case by the American Center for Law and Justice. The brief, which carries the signatures of more than 100,000 people, argues there have been no known sightings of suicides or uncontrolled vomiting at or around the Ground Zero cross.
“The legal argument is absurd,” ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow charged Wednesday.
American Atheists, he said “is making some astonishing claims.”
The group contends the placement of the 17-foot-tall symbol at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum is making some atheists unbearably sick.
“The plaintiffs, and each of them, are suffering, and will continue to suffer damages, both physical and emotional, from the existence of the challenged cross,” the lawsuit American Atheists v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey states. “Named plaintiffs have suffered …. dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack.”
The suit explains the named plaintiffs “have seen the cross, either in person or on television, are being subjected to, and injured in consequence.”
Sekulow doubts the claims are true, finding it uncanny that only a select group of non-believers is susceptible to such a debilitating “disease.”
“These claims are ridiculous,” the ACLJ founder insists. “And so is the lawsuit. In just a matter of days, we will be filing a critical amicus brief defending this Ground Zero cross, which consists of two intersecting steel beams that survived the Twin Towers collapse on 9/11. We have a unique opportunity to not only urge the court to reject this flawed lawsuit, but to send a powerful message to the court: that more than 100,000 Americans are standing with us in this brief ─ urging the court to keep this powerful memorial in place.”
If American Atheists’ demand to remove the cross doesn’t succeed, organization officials already have an alternative: something else must be erected next to the cross.
“They even make a bizarre suggestion about erecting a ’17-foot-high A for Atheists’ to promote their non-beliefs at the site,” Sekulow said.
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