(JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League said it supports the inclusion of the World Trade Center cross in the permanent memorial to 9/11 victims at Ground Zero.
The American Atheists organization, which advocates an "absolute separation" of government and religion, filed a lawsuit last month against including the cross-shaped steel beams in the permanent memorial to the victims of 9/11 in lower Manhattan.
The lawsuit claims the cross is unconstitutional and is a "mingling of church and state."
The cross-shaped beams were found in the rubble at the site of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 attacks and were moved last month to a permanent location in the 8-square-acre memorial.
"Allowing this cross to be included in the memorial along with other artifacts found at the site does not constitute government endorsement of a religious message," the ADL said in a statement. "Rather, it is an acknowledgement that these beams — part of the infrastructure of one of the towers — acquired historical significance by giving comfort to many who lost loved ones in the attacks, as well as those who spent days and weeks sifting through the ash and debris.
"The beams have been a part of the scene at Ground Zero ever since 9/11, and their inclusion in the memorial is appropriate."