Religious Leaders Protest Ban On Clergy-Led Prayer At 9/11 Commemoration

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Religious leaders are protesting Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to include a clergy-led prayer in the city’s ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

About two dozen ministers gathered Saturday in front of St. Paul’s Chapel in lower Manhattan. The group planned to walk to the edge of ground zero and hold a prayer service there.

The Rev. Rob Schenck notes that clergy members ministered to people in New York after the attacks. He says it was hurtful not to include religious leaders in the ceremony.

“Many of us served here after the attacks, and we know the importance of prayer and the presence of clergy,” said Schenck, an evangelical pastor. “To exclude them from the ceremony was hurtful.”

Bloomberg has said he wants to keep the focus of Sunday’s ceremony on victims’ families. Organizers say the event will include spiritual readings and six minutes of silence for personal reflection or prayer.

“Rather than have disagreements over which religious leaders participate, we would like to keep the focus of our commemoration ceremony on the family members of those who died,” Evelyn Erskine, a Bloomberg spokeswoman said earlier this month.

Fernando Cabrera, a New York City councilman and pastor of a church in the Bronx, said he had collected 100,000 names for a petition asking for a formal prayer.

“The American public wants prayer at this event,” Cabrera said. “They could have had different faiths offering prayer, and it would have been a beautiful message to send to the world.”

But several New York religious leaders have said they understand the mayor’s position.

“I just think a decision was made to give priority to the families. If this means more families will be attending, I think all of us can accept that,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis.

St. Paul’s Chapel, which is located just yards from the World Trade Center site, is where the rescue and recovery workers slept and took refuge on 9/11 and in the days, weeks and months after.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Nyc123abc says:

    Mayor bloomberg was right. Whatever your feelings on religion in general (and I do understand the conclusion that without religion this would not have happened) peopled have the right to worship and pray and mourn in their own way. This must not happen at a state sponsored event however and allowing it to would be inescapably insulting to many. I am impressed that the mayor did not just bow to the pressure from clergy though as most modern politicians would! And kudos to those clergy who are not kicking up a fuss about the decision. This day is about more than that and the actions of their counterparts simply serve to make them look childish. Even the pols were not allowed to vent their usual politically charged rhetoric! Good job bloomberg!

  2. Rodin says:

    Where was their go on 9/11.

    Sh¡t happens and GOD is never there. Where else to hide?

    1. Rodin says:

      Sorry, ‘g’od.

      Like I said, ” sh¡t happens.”

  3. Rodin says:

    Wanna be everywhere, the religious excluders want to be included, no matter what.

    Suffer! It’s good for ‘faith’.

    KEEP YOUR FAITHS OUT OF MY FACE.

  4. JFk says:

    Read some more never told stories: From a perspective on religion.

    “Destruction of the Twin Peaks: 9/11 Stories”
    http://www.examiner.com/catholic-in-new-york/destruction-of-the-twin-peaks-9-11-stories-1

  5. Meme Meyagi says:

    there are 7 million mooslime terrorists living in usa, what is being done about it?

  6. iggy says:

    wow, you all sound like the fanatics that flew jets into the buildings for their religion. please pray your own way and keep me out of it.

  7. iggy says:

    since 3000 died and not all of them were of the same religion, should there be services for every one involved? which one goes first? does the third one feel slighted? i think there should be some invocation to show the terrorists their religion didn’t win.

  8. pugphan says:

    Ahhh…you poor souls, the world is a violent place, and Christ himself said such things are bound to happen. Remember FREE WILL! It was men who bombed us, not God! This whole existence is a test for us who are spiritual beings, because sometime after toddlerhood we forget our spirituality. Even atheist are a test for the faithful. Remember Judas, he was there and he did not believe. But Bloomie has made a big error here. Most of those Firemen and Cops were Catholic, and most of the rest were of some Christian denomination. There is divine justice, Oh yea! You can’t diss God and believe you’re going to get away with it. smokersodysseycom

    1. iggy says:

      it was men with a fanatical desire to kill for their religion. should we let that win?

  9. marc says:

    So let me get this straight, they wish to pray to the very god that allowed 9/11 to happen? Why would god help them after the fact, where was god before the deed? God, if real (which I don’t believe) clearly does not take sides. So just live your life as best you can and learn your place, for example, pray all you want but quit trying to make your beliefs public policy such as being anti-gay marriage. As for 9/11, pray all you want, but do it in your place of worship and not where others have to see your insanity.

    1. Wake Up says:

      AND GAYS SHOULD STOP MAKING OUT IN PUBLIC AND GRABBING EACH OTHERS CROTCH IN PUBLIC IN FRONT OF MEN, WOMEN AND CHILDREN. THEY SHOULD DO IT IN THE PUBLIC BATHROOMS THE WAY THEY DID IT YEARS AGO. GET OUT OF OUR DAILY LIFE!
      WAKE UP CHRISTIANS, IT IS TOTALLY OK TO DEFEND YORUSELVES FROM ANYONE ATTACKING YOUR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OR TO PRACTICE THOSE BELIEFS. AS THE BIBLE SAID “A TIME TO KILL”
      IT IS SELF DEFENSE AND NOT SINFUL.

      1. DunceCapForYou says:

        You should stop drooling on yourself and talking in public because your a disgrace to humanity. Go drown or burn some more witches low IQ maggot.

      2. DunceCapForYou says:

        TRY to do that to more “witches”, your kind will be erased from earth this time.

      3. IgnoranteElephante says:

        Dunce, you should know better than to threaten the extermination of an entire kind. Your kind has faced annihilation throughout history everywhere they went.

      4. Rodin says:

        So should straights. Is ‘obscene’ behaviour a matter of sexual orientation? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?

        Go back in your cave and hibernate the rest of your life. Why ‘wake up’ to dither and waste?

  10. nycguy says:

    They got their steel beam cross. They should shut up!!!

    1. DunceCapForYou says:

      Good job little brains, you are the sheep, you are not strong, you are mentally weak if you fall for any of the 1000s of god man early scientists created to guide the weak minded because they aren’t smart enough to control themselves.. Dont try to mess with people who can think and dont have low IQs. Tactics win in war against stupid barbarians every time. If you really believed in your fairytales you would celebrate when people died and went to eternal bliss, you dont tho, cause your brain doesnt even think on a high enough level to understand what the word believe and truth means.

    2. IgnoranteElephante says:

      Wake up is right. Dunce Cap fails to see the point because-well- he’s a dunce. Maybe some people believe in these “fairy tails.” Did you ever think of that, Dunce? In fact, most people believe in some form of religion. Many survivors and victim’s families of 9/11/2001 used religion to overcome unprecedented loss.

      No one, no mayor or governor, would ever make such a proclamation banning Jewish or Muslim Clergy. Time and time again, the Christians and their beliefs get ridiculed, scoffed at, and dismissed while Judiasm continues on its quest for world domination violating a multitude of human rights while Islam resorts to violence.

      When a Catholic says his religion forbids him to believe in gay marriage and abortion, he is openly mocked. When a Jew says his religion requires him to work half days on fridays and have his wife shave her head and wear a $5000 wig, no one dare say anything questioning the wisdom of it. See the contradiction?

      Wake up America!

      1. Rodin says:

        Ignorante :

        Sometimes we agree, sometimes not.

        “Some people believe in these ‘fairy tal-E-s.’ ” Should they be allowed to impose their myths on the rest of us?

        “Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies.” ~ THOMAS JEFFERSON

      2. quetioning says:

        Nobody questions the wisdom of a $5000 wig??? Only Catholics say their religion forbids them to believe in gay marriage??? Only Catholics get mocked??? You are certainly reading selectively…only to find “evidence” for your ridiculous conclusions.

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