The following is an article Louie Christensen, a Senior at the University of Arizona at Tucson. RMF
By Louie Christensen
Mark your calendars: March 28, 2013, the day a federal judge took America a step in the right direction, a step forward in a backsliding country in a feat worthy of recognition. For too long you have heard the arguments to remove every reference to “God” from Washington D.C.’s monuments, and you’ve grown accustomed to “Christmas” being misspelled with an “X” and a dash; but last week marked progress against such omission. (Interesting, I’ve always considered the X in Xmas to be the letter X (Chi) in Greek to represent Christ Jesus — so that Christ is not actually removed from the word Christmas. E.g., In the ichthus (fish symbol) the X is the initial letter in the Greek for Christos. See below. RMF)
After a three-year long court case, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts officially put to rest American Atheists’ attempt to remove the 16 foot tall steel cross from the World Trade Center Museum. She concluded since the museum is an independent non-profit organization, rather than a government organization, that they are not violating the constitutional or civil rights of any atheist or non-believing American.
The group filed the lawsuit in 2011 when the WTC Museum announced that they were in fact going to display the steel cross, found in the debris of Ground Zero, as a permanent exhibit in the memorial. The cross stood as a symbol of hope for the rescue crews since it was discovered two days after the 9/11 attacks. David Silverman, president of American Atheists, speaking on behalf of his group’s cause said, “they are trying to Christianize 9/11 with this cross, and it is not American, and it is not fair.”
During the lawsuit, the WTC museum made the statement that the cross is an “important and essential artifact,” that “belongs at the World Trade Center site as it comprises a key component of the re-telling of the story of 9/11.”
Thousands of people looked to it for comfort, whether they were believers or not, and having it removed wouldn’t simply be discarding a cross, but altering the events that unfolded before the nation. The fact that the cross will remain at the museum proves that as long as America holds fast to history, God will always be woven into its framework. Why? Because He is a God of history, and to erase Him from America’s story would result in collateral damage to the truth.
American Atheist’s failed attempt to have the cross removed is a perfect example of their perpetual mission to expunge God from reality, no matter what truths are left in the wake. They know they will never be able to completely rid this country of religious influences, but they can reduce its significance by tampering with history. Whether it is by secularizing the principles the country was founded upon or posting billboards in Time Square depicting Christ as a myth during Christmas season, they will always search for ways to nullify Christian beliefs.
So what does this mean for the Church? Eternally, this wasn’t a significant court victory for those who follow Christ. While those two beams formed a cross, it wasn’t a believer’s cross. Your cross was put on display two thousand years ago on a dusty hill. It wasn’t the church that immediately put the cross on display, because your church was busy comforting those looking for the hope and peace that is Jesus Christ. But this court decision should encourage you to keep fighting for God’s significance in America’s history.
Lastly, how should the Church react to the American Atheists group? The apostle Peter tells you in 1 Peter 2:15 (ESV): “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” God doesn’t call the Church to argue or actively rally against a rival’s cause. He wants you as His follower to live out your faith and let those who hate you for doing good be found foolish in the eyes of men.
Remember, Christ never acknowledged the sinner who berated him on the cross, he let the man next to him point out his folly. Since 2011, countless people (including atheists) have come out to speak against American Atheist’s lawsuit. You aren’t called to be political activists, nor should you let groups like American Atheists lure you into arguments. Christians must prove to America they are worth defending through daily pursuit of a Christ centered life.
This week pray that you demonstrate your beliefs and live out Christ’s love. Pray that everything the Church does this week will be driven by love, even for those who attack it. And, pray for your enemies, that is, for those who oppose the work of Christ in America.