A 9/11 cross and intolerance

Brittany Jordan
Brittany Jordan

It’s official: we have reached the point where our religious intolerance has become unacceptable.

At Ground Zero, a pile of rubble that is meant to signify what is left of the Twin Towers after the 9/11 attacks, there are crossbeams that happened to remain in the shape of a cross. And people are outraged that someone would actually consider keeping that as part of a museum to be put up for the public to walk through and witness what remains of the iconic New York City landmark.


The issue is not over crossbeams at all really, but the shape that they were left in.

A cross is a popular religious symbol representing the crucifixion, that is true, but if you take the religion out of it, all you have is scrap metal. Metal that, when planes were flown into buildings, happened to remain attached to each other in a specific shape that might signify religious preferences.

And this is so unacceptable to some people that Atheists for America is in the process of attempting to overturn a judge’s decision to allow the crossbeams to continue to stand and be a part of the museum.

For believers, having crossbeams in the shape of a cross might mean that God is with both the victims, survivors and families of those affected by 9/11. But, if you don’t believe in a Higher Power of any kind, then all you have are two pieces of rubble still attached. If you don’t believe in the crucifixion, then it doesn’t matter what shape they’re in.

Are we really so concerned with even the possibility of displaying religion that we feel that we have to alter a piece of history?

I have no problem with people not believing in what I do. That is their choice and that is perfectly fine. I don’t pretend to have all the answers when it comes to religion; there are things about faith that I cannot explain, so I understand when people disagree.

It’s the intolerance that I have issues with.

Because I am entirely tolerant of people who do not acknowledge the Christian God, I expect others to be tolerant of my beliefs as well. It’s not too much for me to expect a certain amount of respect for my faith, just as I respect others’ absence of faith.

So when there are remnants from 9/11 left in what could be construed as a religious symbol, I expect a certain level of respect for that. For some, a cross can be a huge source of comfort. But, all in all, when you take the religion out of it, they are simply crossbeams from the Twin Towers.

The point of having a museum at Ground Zero is to remember that fateful day that gave tangible evidence to the word “terrorism.” The point is to honor the victims and survivors, and the families of each that have personal connections to the collapsing of the Twin Towers.


There are some survivors and families who are religious, who may find a source of comfort in this symbol found in the rubble. There are some Americans who simply watched the entire episode happen on the television who also may be able to glean a sense of hope from a tragedy in which a cross survived.

But if you don’t buy the whole Jesus thing, then ignore the possible religious implications. If you are not a religious individual, it is entirely possible to simply ignore the religious undertones and just see it as scrap metal. Be tolerant enough to allow those that can glean a symbol of hope out of the rubble to do so.

Brittany Jordan would love to see even a modicum of religious tolerance in our society. Feedback can be sent to letters at collegian.com

In Brief:

Remains of the World Trade Center need to be left alone, religious implications or not.

Being tolerant of religion goes both ways.

If you take the religion out of it, we’re talking about crossbeams; let them stand.