A U.S. judge has ruled that the so-called “Ground-Zero Cross” may stay in place at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City. This is despite the attempts of atheists to have the cross removed from the site. In his statement on the ruling, the judge declared that “the purpose of displaying the cross…is to tell the story of how some people used faith to cope with the tragedy.” It is not a demonstration of any one religion or religious belief, but is a purely secular symbol of coping with the great loss that occurred that morning 13 years ago.
When the United States was founded, the men (and women) who built a new nation out of nothing thought it was important to establish a nation unlike any other, where the citizens were free to live as they pleased, so long as the choices those people made did not infringe upon the God-given rights and liberties of another person. One of the most basic Rights afforded by the founders of the U.S. is the freedom to practice religion as one sees fit. This Right applies to all people, whether they believe in Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, or nothing. The founders established Freedom of Religion, and it has served this country well for over two hundred years.
However, recently, groups within the United States have taken it upon themselves to declare that the founders wished to completely divorce the Government from religion of any sort. They believe that prayer, in any form and to anyone, should not be included in anything even remotely related to Government or Government offices. This belief that the U.S. should be Free from Religion has tried to gain strength with numerous lawsuits against city halls, public school districts, and government
monuments. However, these groups have repeatedly lost their legal cases because the Judiciary at Local, State, and Federal levels all see that representations that may be construed as religious, such as the Ground-Zero Cross, are not a demonstration by any Government body in favor of one or against another set of religious beliefs. They represent something more to the community, and are purely secular displays of what is important to that community.
If it is not important for a community, whether it be a small town or a nation at large, to have something to represent how they feel about something, then what is important? The Government should not have to continue to fight these legal challenges, but with each case decided against those wishing to remove religion completely from the country, it becomes more and more apparent that, while it may not be possible to declare officially, it is clear that this great nation is founded on deeply held religious beliefs which drive its citizens to do their best each day in order to make the United States the great nation that it is.