The image above is a piece of the destroyed World Trade Center pulled from the wreckage a few days after 911. Two beams crossed at a joint is an architectural necessity. Two beams crossed could also be a religious symbol or icon.
The above icon was on site at the new World Trade Center rising. It was temporarily moved two blocks to the side of St. Peter’s RC church on Church Street to make way for new construction. It will be returned to the finished WTC II. There will be no problem with a possible religious icon being displayed on private or corporate property, which the WTC is.
Ran into the following story whereby an American Legion War Memorial got put up in the California desert, with a cross, over eighty years ago. Somebody sued the government, the owner of the public land where the war memorial sits, and the case has been in and out of court all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found in favor of the memorial.
Mojave cross at center of court fight reported stolen
A war memorial shaped like a cross that has been at the center of a Supreme Court fight has been torn down by vandals from its remote perch in a California desert….
The high court on April 28 ruled the cross did not violate the constitutional separation of church and state. The American Civil Liberties Union, which had brought the original lawsuit to have the cross removed, promised to continue the court fight….
The Latin cross was first erected in 1934 by a local VFW unit to honor war dead. It has been rebuilt several times over the years, and Easter services are held annually at the remote desert site. The site is on national park land that totals about 1.6 million acres, or 2,500 square miles….
The justices did not completely resolve the fight over the fate of the cross, but the conservative majority re-affirmed recent rulings that there is a limited place for religious symbols on government land.Other quotes from this Supreme Court case that overturned the objection to this one case in particular but not setting any future precedents on the matter:
"It is reasonable to interpret the congressional designation as giving recognition to the historical meaning that the cross had attained," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy. "The Constitution does not oblige government to avoid any public acknowledgment of religion's role in society."
Supreme Court overturns objection to cross on public land
To Kennedy, the cross "is not merely a reaffirmation of Christian beliefs" but a symbol "often used to honor and respect" heroism.
He added: "Here, one Latin cross in the desert evokes far more than religion. It evokes thousands of small crosses in foreign fields marking the graves of Americans who fell in battles, battles whose tragedies are compounded if the fallen are forgotten."As I have stated in this blog previously, I, as a secularist, do not object to all religious icons that have been there for decades and are therefore “grandfathered” so to speak into American public spaces and landscapes.
Dissenting Justice John Paul Stevens said: "The cross is not a universal symbol of sacrifice. It is the symbol of one particular sacrifice, and that sacrifice carries deeply significant meaning for those who adhere to the Christian faith."
Now, with this haphazard crony nomination of Elena Kagan to the future 2/3 Catholic and 1/3 Jewish U.S. Supreme Court, I have to wonder if opinions such as by Justice Kennedy should not be more aptly labeled in the future as the opinion of Catholic Justice Kennedy.
My feeling is that all future cases to the Supreme Court will be tainted in terms of the extremely narrow cultural/religious diversity now seen on the Court.
So it goes.