Atheism in America requires a sense of humor, however black, a thick skin, or an active embrace of outsider status; lacking these defenses, you risk being unnerved by the onslaught of religiosity and mired in a sense of victimhood. Your legal advocacy of official secularism, consistent with the First Amendment, devolves into personal complaints about the psychic damage of official religiosity.

Consider the challenge brought by American Atheists to acquisition of the World Trade Center cross in the government supported 9/11 memorial and museum. Whether this cross is on display because of its secular, historical value or as a sectarian religious artifact inviting worship is a challenging, partly factual question. But given the prominence of the cross, its unavoidable, universal sectarian meaning, and the potential if not probable perception of it as an official endorsement of Christianity, it is or should be quite vulnerable to constitutional challenge, although not, I suspect, the sort of challenge brought by American Atheists.

What’s the harm of the cross, according to AA? It’s presence in the 9/11 memorial causes plaintiffs to suffer from “dyspepsia, symptoms of depression, headaches, anxiety, and mental pain and anguish from the knowledge that they are made to feel officially excluded from the ranks of citizens who were directly injured by the 9/11 attack and the lack of acknowledgement of the more than 1,000 non-Christian individuals who were killed at the World Trade Center.”

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