A rabbi supporting the Ground Zero Cross?  Yes, and proud to do so because in doing so I, and all others who do so, support freedom of expression, inclusiveness and the importance of remembering the events of 9/11 and its aftermath, as fully and as accurately as possible.

The fused steel cross at the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York City was a crucial part of thousands of people’s experience in the weeks and months following the horror of that bright September morning.  The fact that people seek to exclude that cross from any public display, demonstrates a dangerous lack of understanding about what it means to maintain a truly inclusive society, and also a fundamental misunderstanding about challenge of preserving memory.

Atheist groups, who are fighting the hardest to exclude the cross, are actually, if unwittingly, fighting for the opposite of the religious and intellectual freedom for which they claim to stand.  By fighting against the inclusion of the cross, they turn the important and ongoing fight for their own legitimacy and inclusion into a fight for precisely the kind of exclusion and lack of recognition to which they themselves are regularly subjected in many situations.

A truly inclusive, respectful and pluralist society is not achieved by fighting to exclude, as some atheists and others are doing.  It is achieved by creating ever-greater opportunity for ever-greater expression.  Somehow, this case has become one in which people who have struggled to have their own presence acknowledged are now leading a fight to have the presence of others erased.   How ironic and how wrong-headed.

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