Bill Donohue comments on a threatened lawsuit by American Atheists; they are seeking to stop the erection of a memorial cross in Princeton, New Jersey:
New Jersey has a 9-11 memorial, and one of the local firefighters would like to display a beam in Princeton that was taken from the World Trade Center. American Atheists are objecting because the beam has a cross cut out on one side. To David Silverman, that is “grossly offensive.” So he is threatening to sue.
Silverman says that to allow the memorial cross is to give the “appearance that all of the people who suffered and died on 9-11 and their families are being memorialized by a Christian symbol.” It would be more accurate to say that Silverman and his minions are the only ones who would draw such a silly conclusion, but even if they did, that is no grounds for censorship. This is a free speech issue, and banning expression based on its content is unconstitutional. If Princeton yields, it could be sued for violating the First Amendment.
Silverman’s complaint that those who are not Christian will find the memorial cross “grossly offensive” is a bigoted comment on Jews and other non-Christians; it assumes that most are raving anti-Christians (he needs to leave his hate-filled circle and meet regular Americans). Moreover, his position is also sorely undercut by the person promoting the cross, Princeton Fire Chief Roy James. “I’m a Jew,” he told Todd Starnes of Fox News, and “I’m fighting to have this cross there because I believe that someone’s story is behind that.”
We are asking our members to contact Princeton Mayor Liz Lempert.