At just over two weeks out from the tenth anniversary of 9/11, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is receiving harsh criticism for his decision to exclude clergy members from the 9/11 memorial ceremony. A Bloomberg spokesperson explained that the focus will be on the victims and their family members, not on religious leaders. Others added that it would be impossible to include a leader from every single religious group.
Opponents to Bloomberg's decision counter that interfaith ceremonies played a huge role following the 9/11 attacks. Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, organized one such interfaith ceremony in Yankee Stadium only two weeks after the attacks. He strongly disagreed with Bloomberg's decision, saying, "This is America, and to have a memorial service where there's no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me."
Do you think religious leaders should play a role in the memorial ceremony, especially given their role immediately following the terrorist attacks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
According to City Hall, spiritual leaders have never played a role in the annual ceremony marking the 9/11 anniversary, and Bloomberg wants to keep the same tone. Many say that the tenth anniversary should be treated differently, though. With an international audience and attendance by President Obama, they believe the ceremony needs some interfaith elements.
It’s an undeniable fact that the 9/11 attacks were planned and carried out by fanatics in service of an extreme form of Islam. They were motivated, too, by hatred of those who embrace other religions, or none at all -- as Americans are wont to do.
So if the attacks weren’t secular events, wouldn’t an official secularization of the 10th anniversary ceremony be a moral victory for the perpetrators?
So what say you?