A group called American Atheists has filed suit to prevent a giant steel cross from being included in the 9/11 memorial museum at the World Trade Center. The two intersecting beams were found in the wreckage of the WTC, and because they happen to physically resemble a cross, Christian extremists and apologists for Christian extremists want to pretend that the “steel remnant [is] a symbol of spiritual comfort for the thousands of recovery workers who toiled at ground zero, as well as for people around the world.” What a “symbol” of one particular religion has to do with the destruction of what was New York City’s leading symbol of U.S.-led global commercialism and the murder of almost 3,000 people, many of whom were Muslim, Jewish, and no religion at all, goes unexplained.
In McKinney, Texas, a Planned Parenthood clinic that “provides women’s health and reproductive services, but does not perform abortions,” was set on fire with a container of gasoline. Fortunately, the incendiary device exploded outside the clinic, so the inside was not damaged.
When it comes to regulating women’s bodies, the Christian right is just fine with big government intruding into private family decisions.
I doubt that the blogger who runs Weasel Zippers would have any problem with Mayor Bloomberg, who is Jewish, greeting worshippers at a Rosh Hashanah service with “Shalom.” But it becomes “pandering gone horribly wrong” when the same mayor — who, by the way is, officially at least, mayor of the entire city of New York, not just the portion that is Christian or Jewish — greets a group of Muslim worshippers at a Ramadan observance with the same word in Arabic: “Salaam.” Or when he tries to, at least. Being Jewish and thus much more familiar with the Hebrew form of that word, “shalom,” he said “shalom alaikum” — which means he used Hebrew for the first word and Arabic for the second. The fact that the correct Arabic phrase, salaam aleikum, has exactly (literally, *exactly*) the same meaning as the corresponding Hebrew phrase, shalom aleichem — namely, “peace be upon you” — should not, as I pointed out above, cause you to miss the opportunity to mock this obvious example of “pandering gone horribly wrong.”