A group of atheists filed a lawsuit on Monday to block cross-shaped steel beams from being displayed at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.
The American Atheists, a group which said it advocates an "absolute separation" of government and religion, argued in the filing that the cross shouldn't be included if "no other religions or philosophies will be honored," according to a statement on its Web site.
The lawsuit, which is posted on the group's Web site, names the museum, New York and New Jersey, as well as Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Chris Christie, among others, as defendants.
Known as The World Trade Center cross, the cross is made up of two intersecting steel beams found intact in the rubble at Ground Zero. The cross originally was erected on the side of Church Street in lower Manhattan, near St. Peter's Church. The cross was moved to the 9/11 Memorial Museum during a ceremony last weekend.
"The WTC cross has become a Christian icon. It has been blessed by so-called holy men and presented as a reminder that their god, who couldn't be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists to prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross," the group's president, Dave Silverman, said in a statement. "It's a truly ridiculous assertion."
Museum organizers disagree, calling the cross a symbol of hope for many and said it should have a place at the memorial.
The cross is "an important part of our commitment to bring back the authentic physical reminders that tell the history of 9/11 in a way nothing else could," 9/11 Memorial President Joe Daniels said Saturday, the Christian Post reported. "It is a symbol of the progress on the Memorial and Museum that we feel rather than see, reminding us that commemoration is at the heart of our mission."