September 11th – A Humanist Response 10 Years On

Image of WTC before the attack with US Flag in background

Today is the 10th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on US soil. The World Trade Center in New York was attacked shortly before 9 AM on a bright and sunny Tuesday in 2001. By the end of the awful day both towers were destroyed, the Pentagon had been hit, and people were killed in a fourth plane that crashed in Pennsylvania. Five days later I wrote an essay about the attacks from my secular humanist perspective. I went through it this week and have posted it again – changed little from the day I wrote it.

A big black smoking hole in one of the World Trade Center towers was the first scene I saw at 8:55 am on Tuesday September 11, 2001. Thick black smoke poured into the air. The reporters said a plane had crashed into the tower. At 9:03 am I witnessed, live on TV, a second jet come into view and plow into the other tower with a resultant explosion as thousands of pounds of fuel ignited.

“What the f***?” I remember saying while the commentators on the morning show were asking if they just saw what they just saw. They reran the video and yes it was a second jet crashing into the other tower.


Later in the day I got mad when I heard Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, evangelical Christian leaders, claim that because of abortionists, gays, pagan, and secularists making God mad, God removed some kind of protective cloak He supposedly put around the US since its founding 200 plus years ago. They said we all need to do is get back to God.

I was mad because they were blaming people like me for the causing the attack and that people like them seem to use these tragic events as way of making more money.

I said to myself that any God who would allow over 5,000 people to die at one time is really not worth following. If we accept what Falwell and Robertson said as true then we must also accept that the Islamic extremists who planned and executed the attack had God’s blessing. They went to Heaven according to their beliefs. I was even mad when Rev. Franklin Graham, son of Rev. Billy Graham, who I thought was more moderate than Robertson et al., said on two networks that we all need to find Jesus and go back to Him.

I am mad by these kind of comments because they fail to include non-believers and because this tragic event was a political statement mixed with religion. This event is a prime example of the dangers of mixing religion and politics and I felt the comments were leading us down the same road the terrorists used to justify their attack. If we did what Falwell, Robertson, and Graham suggested we would be no better than the terrorists.

September 11th – A Humanist Response 10 Years On

I will never forget. I can’t


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