Atheists Riled Over NYC Street Named 'Seven In Heaven Way' to Honor 9/11 Firefighters

Wednesday, 22 Jun 2011 11:57 AM

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Atheist groups in New York City are upset that a Brooklyn street was renamed with a subtitle, “Seven In Heaven Way.” Richards Street, in the Red Hook section of the borough, was rechristened with that sign to honor seven firefighters who died on 9/11.

Seven in Heaven, street, New YorkKen Bronstein of New York City Atheists told Fox News Radio that “there should be no signage or displays of religious nature in the public domain.” David Silverman of American Atheists, meanwhile, told Gothamist.com that the idea of heaven is “specifically Christian.”

“All memorials for fallen heroes should celebrate the diversity of our country and should be secular in nature,” Silverman said. “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.”

A city council spokesman gave the Gothamist a different take. “The seven heroes have long been known as the ‘Seven in Heaven,’” said Mike Schweinsburg, a representative for Councilwoman Sara González. “That’s something that we didn’t have any hand in. It is the way the community and their families chose to remember them. So if that is their desire, then we are happy to continue to remember them in the way that their family and fellow firefighters prefer to call them.”

Mediate reports that the city does not intend to remove the sign.

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