Heaven Forbid! NYC Atheists Insulted By Street Sign

Lieutenant Joseph Gullickson - 37, Firefighter Patrick D. Byrne - 39, Firefighter Salvatore Calabro - 38, Firefighter Brian Cannizzaro - 30, Firefighter Tom Kennedy - 36, Firefighter Joseph Maffeo - 30, Firefighter Terence McShane - 37

An Atheist group in New York is annoyed over a street sign commemorating the ultimate sacrifice made by seven firefighters of Brooklyn’s Engine 202 Ladder 101 on September 11, 2001. The street sign which, incidentally, is a partial honorary street sign placed underneath the original street sign at the corner of Richards & Seabring where the firehouse is located, was unveiled on June 11, 2011.

So exactly what is it about this sign that has Ken Bronstein, president of New York City Atheists so upset? The word “Heaven”. Yes, folks, you read that correctly. The honorary name of Richards street is now “Seven In Heaven Way” & that, my friends, has caused a serious nationwide uproar. Bronstein has actually threatened to file a lawsuit if the city doesn’t take it down & is quoted as saying “There should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public domain. 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 & there’s no hell.”

You know what, Mr. Bronstein? I could care less what atheists have ‘concluded’ in regards to heaven or hell. Who says your ‘conclusions’ are correct anyway? Have any zombies reanimated themselves through some miracle of science, crawled out of a grave, & told the atheist community that there is absolutely nothing after death in order to validate your opinion? Who made you the authority on what anyone else should think, believe, feel, write, or say? According to your own beliefs, certainly no Divine Higher Power did! Your actions of trampling on the feelings of the grieving families of those victims simply to ram your own non-beliefs down everyone’s throats are certainly doing nothing to further any effort to gain acceptance & understanding of atheism by the general public! As self-righteous, indignant, insulted, & outraged as you’re behaving, Mr. Bronstein, I most certainly hope that your New York City Atheists or any other atheist organization aren’t engaging in hypocrisy by accepting any donations in U.S. currency or by ever spending or even touching cash! Heaven forbid! It all says “In God We Trust”!

This type of mentality—that any reference to “God” is potentially offensive to someone & therefore must be done away with completely—has got to stop immediately! The thing is, spiritually speaking, I’m basically an outcast. I’m not even a subscriber to the dogma of any of the ‘major world religions’. I’m an eclectic Pagan, for crying out loud & yet I’m still infuriated each time I read or hear that the ACLU or some other group is trying to take the “God” out of something somewhere. Frankly, I’m sick & tired of it! I will stand up right alongside the Judeo-Christians & defend them against those that would attack faith & spirituality itself through the systematic removal of “God” from anywhere. “God” most definitely should not be eradicated. I’m not in the least bit offended by the word “God” in The Pledge of Allegiance, on U.S. currency, in a student’s graduation speech, or anywhere else for that matter. I think Nativity scenes are beautiful & if a city hall wants to put one up on their property, no one should tell them they can’t do so. I’m not offended at all when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas. If myself, a family member, a friend, or one of our furkids is ill or going through a difficult time & someone says they’re keeping us in their prayers, I’m grateful—not offended! Why should I be? Why should anyone be?

I find it sickeningly ironic that the moment certain people managed to take the Nativities off city property & “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible…” out of the Pledge of Allegiance in our schools seems to be in very close proximity to the moment this country became more divided than ever before. This divisiveness is replicating, mutating, & spreading like an epidemic super virus & it’s literally destroying America. This leads me to the conclusion that America is, sadly, divisible—when you take “God” out of the equation.

Being an eclectic Pagan, my view of the word “God” is most certainly different than that of many, if not most, other people. I choose not to be offended by it. I choose to embrace it as an expression of a belief & faith in a Divine Higher Power. What “God” means to one person can mean something entirely different to someone else & that is wonderful! The ability of a three letter word to carry the weight of so many different interpretations & yet, in my opinion, still manage to lead each individual on their soul’s spiritual journey is truly inspirational! The word “God” should never be interpreted as belonging only to the Judeo-Christian society, as some would mistakenly have you believe. That’s arrogantly insulting to every spiritual being in the Universe. God, by any name or names, is owned by no one & yet belongs to everyone.

In conclusion, Mr. Bronstein, I’d like to give you a few words of advice. Step down off your high horse & leave that street sign & those families alone. Better yet, why don’t you put the money you intended to spend on filing that lawsuit to better use as a donation to any of the numerous charities that are trying to help both the survivors & the families of the 9/11/01 victims?


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