New York Atheists Angry Over ‘Heaven’ Street Sign Honoring Sept. 11 Victims

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:34 am by Steve

Well, those whacky atheists are up to it again. They can find the most irrational things to get upset about. It’s amazing how much time and energy they expend fighting something they don’t believe in.

A group of New York City atheists is demanding that the city remove a street sign honoring seven firefighters killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks because they say the sign violates the separation of church and state.

The street, “Seven in Heaven Way,” was officially dedicated last weekend in Brooklyn outside the firehouse where the firefighters once served. The ceremony was attended by dozens of firefighters, city leaders and widows of the fallen men.

“There should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public domain,” said Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists. “It’s really insulting to us.” Bronstein told Fox News Radio that his organization was especially concerned with the use of the word “heaven.” “We’ve concluded as atheists there is no heaven and there’s no hell,” he said.

“And it’s a totally religious statement. It’s a question of separation of church and state.” He was nonplussed over how his opposition to the street sign might be perceived – especially since the sign is honoring fallen heroes. “It’s irrelevant who it’s for,” Bronstein said. “We think this is a very bad thing,”

David Silverman, president of American Atheists, agreed calling on the city to remove the sign. “It implies that heaven actually exists,” Silverman told Fox News Radio.

“People died in 9/11, but they were all people who died, not just Christians. Heaven is a specifically Christian place. For the city to come up and say all those heroes are in heaven now, it’s not appropriate.”

“All memorials for fallen heroes should celebrate the diversity of our country and should be secular in nature. These heroes might have been Jews, they might have been atheists, I don’t know, but either way it’s wrong for the city to say they’re in heaven. It’s preachy.”

City leaders seemed dumbfounded by the atheists’ outrage because no one complained about the sign as it was going through a public approval process. “It’s unfortunate that they didn’t raise this as an issue while it was undergoing its public review either at the community board level or when it came before the City Council on their public agenda,” said Craig Hammerman, the district manager for Brooklyn Community Board 6.

Hammerman told Fox News Radio that the community was “solidly behind this proposal. Not a single person stood up to speak out against it. I think it’s a little late in the process for someone to be bringing this up now.”

“When you think you’ve heard it all, you haven’t,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz told Fox News Radio. “These seven brave souls who put their lives on the line and ultimately gave up the most precious gift that could be given, believe me are in heaven for serving us so admirably,” he said.

Criticism of the sign brought condemnation from Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“There are cities that have religious connotations in their names, why not a street,” Land said. “Do they want us to rename Los Angeles, Corpus Christi, and St. Joseph?”

He added, “In a country where 85 percent of the people say they are Christian or claim to be Christian, should it be surprising that you name cities and streets with religious terminology.”

Silverman said he would not be surprised if atheists are vilified for their criticism of the street sign – suggesting they were simply being patriotic. “If we’re opposed to this sign, we’re somehow opposed to honoring the heroes,” he said. “The attacks on 9/11 were an attack on America. They were an attack on our Constitution and breaking that Constitution to honor these firefighters is the wrong thing to do.

“The patriotic and right thing to do is to obey our own law and to realize that we are a diverse nation, a melting pot full of different views,” Silverman added. The local and national atheist organizations said they’ve offered alternative names that would still honor the firefighters, but without any religious affiliation.

Bronstein suggested they call the street, “We Remember The Seven – 9/11.” He said that would be “more appropriate.”

But the city has no intention of removing the sign. If that’s the case, Bronstein said he may consider a lawsuit.

Original Link.


  1. Henry Massingale said,

    June 22, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Boy if their upset over this, wait until you all share this,
    I watched and looked for a long time for those of no faith, I have found a fitting name, the Nickamungers from the movie Riddick.From this day forward you will be know as the Nickamungers.
    Now according to,
    1.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state – below is a Google .com link at Wikipeda.org
    to what I see when I read this,The phrase “separation of church and state” (sometimes “wall of separation between church and state”), attributed to Thomas Jefferson and others, and since quoted by the Supreme Court of the United States, expresses an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendmen treads “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ….”
    Now from what I see is that Man is not in the position to Write Laws to Govern God or The Foundation of faith even that of Prayer in Schools.
    What has been created is that of a Church of None Faith, by intent or lack of in-site. Now to set the Foundation of that Church of the Nickamungers.
    Welcome to the 21 Century Where ideas are changed by Men of Faith, and that Law that states, free exercise thereof, so welcome to a twist of a in site.
    Henry Massingale
    Founder and Director of F.A.S.C. Concepts in and for
    Operation Clean Sweep / byMassingale, and this will be of course a 10 x 10 posting to get the message out and interface all the voices.

  2. Kobe said,

    June 24, 2011 at 5:36 am

    It’s actually necromongers but that is not the matter,
    I can understand slight irritation about seeing a sign of religious nature (as I’m sure Christians dislike signs of atheism or other religions) but outright anger and complaint is a bit excessive.
    Now just to say here, I am someone who neither knows nor cares whether there is a God or not (but if i had to choose I am atheist) and I understand that a separation of church and state is necessary to allow people to make their own choice on whether they believe in god or not and also to preserve their right to that opinion. If not then chances are we’d be still in the dark ages and anyone who said or did anything different would be persecuted.
    Now just like I realise that not all christians are close minded, bible bashing bastards (and would more appropriately be called the necromongers than atheists (i.e. cos of events like the “holy” crusades and the times of scientific persecution and etc.) so must you understand that we are not all hyped up [edited].
    Thank you

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