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9/11 Ceremony won't include clergy or formal prayers
Visitors look over Ground Zero. Some religious leaders are upset there will be no formal prayers during the 10th anniversary ceremony.
August 25th, 2011
07:48 PM ET

9/11 Ceremony won't include clergy or formal prayers

By, Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)– As the city of New York prepares to remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11, religious leaders are raising concerns over the lack of clergy participating in the anniversary events.

"Utterly disappointed and surprised," Fernado Cabrera a New York City councilman and the pastor of New Life Outreach International church in the Bronx, said over the decision not to include any clergy in the ceremony.

"There's certain things that government cannot do, and answering questions of meaning of 'Why are we going through this?' and 'Where am I going to get strength from?' - those are existential questions that can only be answered from a spiritual aspect," Cabrera said.

"I'm telling you I saw it first hand, the power of prayer," he added of his time at ground zero on September 11, 2001.

Cabrera said he reached out to the mayor's office and was told there would be no prayer in this year's ceremony.

He has started a petition on Facebook to change that.

"The ceremony was designed in coordination with 9/11 families with a mixture of readings that are spiritual, historical and personal in nature," Evelyn Erskine, a spokeswoman for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, said in an e-mail to CNN.

"It has been widely supported for the past 10 years and 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."

The exclusion of clergy was first widely reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League rejected the mayor's office explanation of potential religious infighting over who would get to pray, saying the issue is sorted out all the time for presidential inaugurations and other major events.

"What [the mayor] did is what he often does, which is to make autocratic decisions," Donahue said. "I don't think this is something that will sit well with New Yorkers and the biggest mistake Bloomberg has made is he's given us three weeks."

On July 29 Bloomberg spoke about the ceremony during his weekly radio show. He announced that President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush would both be attending and participating, as well as other politicians and elected officials.

"This cannot be political," Bloomberg told the radio audience. "That's why there's a poem or a quote or something that each one of the readers will read." He added there would be "no speeches whatsoever."

While he was talking about which officials would attend, he noted, "There's an awful lot of people that would like to participate but you just can't do that, once you open it up. So the argument here is it's elected officials and those who were there at the time and had some influence."

There have been 10 ceremonies at ground zero in New York to pause and remember the events of 9/11, one six months after the attack and on September 11 each following year.

Spirituality and religion have been reserved for the moments of silence in those events.

In past ceremonies, four moments of silence were observed to mark when each tower was struck and when each tower fell.

For this year's ceremony, organizers added two additional moments of silence to recognize the strike on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

"This year's six moments of silence allow every individual a time for personal and religious introspection," Erskine said.

Throughout the city there will be other prayer events leading up to September 11.

In particular, the New York Police Department will be hosting its own ceremony, which will include prayers, at Lincoln Center on September 8.

The event is scheduled to include Rabbi Alvin Kass, the chief of chaplains for the NYPD; Cardinal Edward Egan, the Archbishop emeritus of New York; and the mayor.

But Donahue and Cabrera said because this is the 10th anniversary, there should be clergy and prayer in the 9/11 ceremony to reflect the contribution faith, religion, and spirituality played in the recovery.

"This is not a message of unity when you begin to exclude people who were crucial in the turnaround moment that we needed," Cabrera said.

Donahue said he hoped the mayor would reconsider and invite clergy to participate.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Belief

soundoff (1,461 Responses)
  1. lord avie

    Heard comments about this great mayor. If this is his path the I would have to believe that in a few years just as people say the Holocast di not happen, people, including Bloomberg will say that Muslim Fanatics(I did not say Muslims, I said Fanatics) had nothingto do with the downing of thw Towers.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • tosser

      You're an idiot and I'm guessing a Glenn Beck fan.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
    • Martin T

      Glenn Beck is the greatest comedian of this century....

      August 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Texan Dave

      Please respond when you're not drunk, and we may see what you're talking about.

      August 26, 2011 at 4:01 am |
  2. Sheila

    Whether or not the "religious establishment" is permitted to speak, God will show up. He was there that day, and He will be again. May the God of hope and peace surround that site with his enduring love. And may those with open and willing hearts look to Him and feel his presence. God bless you all.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Well stated Sister. God doesn't need us to defend him. Just confess him πŸ˜‰
      He's in the middle of this conversation working. Amazing thing no?
      God Bless.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Martin T

      Good for god, now if you have any pull with the "big guy" could you maybe ask him to step up and put an end to all this nonsense once and for all? I mean, come on, if his is all that, surely he could just put out a statement, maybe a tweet, does he have a facebook page? He could talk to the ancients, but I haven't seen ONE darn burning bush lately.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Abraham

      "God will show up. He was there that day..."

      Sure, but which side was he on? If he was for "Christian America" why did all those Christian Americans have to die?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Indyman

      Which god? The one that allowed this to happen? The god that allows 17,000 children to die of hunger every year? The god which allows wars and atrocities throughout the world to occur every day?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Martin, I like you're thinking. But no. God and Christ both tell us that this world is imperfect and will get worse towards the end. What we pray for is folks to know him so they can see this world is not all there is , and is only temporary. We also pray for earthly help at times, but thats not the point- This is the way of it in a nutshell- , he gave us free will, we abused it, he told us there would be consequences, we see them daily, he offers us a way out ( Belief in Christ Jesus as our personal Lord and savior who dies to cover all the sins we did, do and will commit because he knows our heart) and we get to choose it or not. Its that simple. He won't force you. He loves you and wants you to choose him. But its your choice. I nor any other believer should ever try to argue you to faith, or attack you for your beliefs. We are here to encourage, help where we can, and offer his hope to a dying, screwed up world of our own devising. Sadly, a lot of folks say they are Christian and never share this nor live it- Again- you seem like a person who cares for others and is a very rational human being and sees the damage of what Man does when he is religious. Good for you- Blessings to you.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Martin T

      Hey Indy, you know God only does the good stuff, all that bad junk, well that's because this dude named Adam let this chich named Eve, convince him to eat that fruit in the Garden of Eden, thus causing all our suffering and stuff. You know, original sin..

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Ben

      Yeah, god was there. He was just silent, invisible, undetectable, and completely inactive, like every other time. But he was there. No, really, you just have to believe.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Tec, see my friend, YOU are the kind of religious guy I'd like to sit down with and have a coke. I know sometimes I hit hard on here, mainly because it gets people talking and thinking, but the truth is I love to debate in a sensible manner with those who have some measure of intellect and respect. Thanks man, you are a good guy.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • UncelM

      Every day the mere existence of American Christians proves that god doesn't exist.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Technically , God created the world and all that is in it, Gave it to us pristine and perfect and even walked with us in the garden. We chose to be in rebellion against him in the Garden, and so he gave us the world, and told us it would be very hard, and because we chose to separate from us, gave the world over to Satan( who wanted to make the world over without God) and us.
      We have that. Now that its our domain, we screw it up. We Kill each other, then blame God (who actually told us THOU SHALT NOT KILL and Love your neighbor) – We have a natural disaster that kills people and we blame God, when really, its just a sinful world that he TOLD us would be imperfect because we screwed it up by hiding and separating from God.God steps in and holds it together until the end, but as more and more people hear of him and ask him to not be present , in broken heartedness and sadness he will give them their wish in their lives. And death ? If you are Christian and you know him, its not bad once you're on the other side. A better question would be " Why is God so merciful that he lets any of us live and screwy , mean and malicious as we are? " And if you think thats an untrue statement, look at this forum. You can see the hard heartedness. The easy, instant anger towards others we disagree with. We are sinful creatures one bad decision away from monsters at any given time. So really guys, Believe he's not real if yo will. Blame the Christians, or muslims or whom you will. But that changes nothing. All things the scriptures mention are happening as we sit here and type , and we do nothing but blame instead of following Jesus who told us to forgive our enemies, not judge unless we wish to be judged ourselves, and Love one another. In any case, thats the gospel in the abridged version- do with it what you will- I wish you guys well and enjoy reading your comments.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Thanks Martin πŸ™‚
      I was typing while you were I think- And I'd love to hang sometime to. But don't call me religious. I think you'd be disappointed in my holiness πŸ˜‰
      Later – off to take my wife to a movie- Be well-

      August 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Orchal

      Was losing faith in humanity until the exchange between Martin T and Tekshepherd. Civility can exist! Hooray! ❀

      August 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  3. Ronnie Harper

    Yay!! Just say no to supernaturalism. Religion is a pox on humanity, and 'clergy' are brainless meatbags who need to be taxed like everyone else. I hate religion, it mars our great nation and makes Americans look like morons. Religion is what caused 9/11 in the first place – they're all the same, patriarchal, abusive to children, misogynistic, and predicated on lies. Religion is bunk, a pox on humanity.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • JoAnn

      Everyone needs to know that God will be there no matter who protest it. Who do you think took all those souls to Heaven?
      Who are we suppose to believe in, Politicians???? God is real and forever! Terrorists killed that day, not religion.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Whatever

      To condemn all religion indicates a lack of understanding. Religious groups work relentlessly to aid those who are suffering around the world. Yes, there are negative parts of religion but to condemn all of it is unfair.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Ben

      To condemn all religion demonstrates that you have a brain.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • Martin T

      High Five @ Ben! To whatever, what is the difference between condemning all religions and all religions condemning atheists? Or better yet, should be also respect those religions who want to sacrifice humans, or who believe in copulation with minors, or multiple marriages? Where do we draw the line???

      August 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Whatever

      Go look up Catholic Relief Services and condemn their actions. Or better yet look up the actions of Sr. Dorothy Stang and condemn her too.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ whatever, I am not saying that all people with beliefs are bad or don't do good deeds, but my question would be "why are they doing these good deeds?" There are, statistically, just as many atheists doing good deeds in the world as Christians. I don't think being religious is a requirement for good deeds. But again, I ask where do we draw the line? IF we are to tolerate religions, where do we say, "this is just too over the top?"

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Martin T

      @Whatever – Don't get me started on condemning the Catholic Church... their "sins" would fill up an entire month of blogs.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Whatever

      I completely agreed that there are some really terrible aspects of religion. I also agree that religion is not a requirement for good acts. My only point was that in some cases religion does foster and promote good activities and morality. I believe that religious activities should be judged like any other action. If they either have a good result or do no harm then they should be accepted.

      I am technically part of the Catholic faith, but you can condemn the actions of the Catholic Church all you want. While I believe there are many very good people in the Catholic Church, its bureaucratic nature and constant scandals have overshadowed the compassionate values of Christianity demonstrated by Christ. Ideally, Christians should try to aid others where possible and accept all people regardless of their opinions etc. Unfortunately, the "church proper" seems to have missed much of this. These omissions are even more glaring in some of the evangelical Christian churches these days...

      August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • Bioartchick

      Religion gives people bad reasons to do good things when good reasons are readily available. The motive, thoughts, cause and effect also have impacts on the way we behave, not just the end result.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:47 am |
  4. jefft

    why are politicians going to be there? in reality it's the political meddling in the Middle East that was the real cause of 9-11. it was also political officials who wasted no time restricting the rights of innocent people after the attacks. Politicians should be kept far away from this event, they only show up for the photo-op.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  5. Matt

    last time i checked it was "ONE NATION UNDER GOD"

    August 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • RIALgal

      Not before June of 1954.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Matt, the "One Nation Under God" was a mistake made by the government and one that I am ashamed to say has not be rectified. I am saddened by the ignorance that so many Christians display on these blogs every day, it's truly sad.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • Indyman

      Matt, I can see you're no history major! You may want to read and check your facts before you speak or write.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • tosser

      "God" is a subjective term that is not owned by any one religion. Christians may own Christ and Muslims may own Muhammed but God is for everybody. My guess is you won't understand.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Abraham

      Too bad it's not One Nation Under a Groove! On 9/11 everyone just could go out and play some loud P-Funk and dance in the streets – regardless of race, color or creed!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • JoAnn

      Religion is very broad. Real Christians do NOT put planes into buildings. Terrorists do! God says in the Bible, "There wlll always be wars". Isn't this true?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Martin T

      Nope JoAnn, "real" Christians just shoot abortion providers in the head at church, no less. Real Christians were responsible for the Inquisitions, the killing and torture of COUNTLESS people during the Middle Ages, and the list goes on and on... Trust me, Christianity does have its share of blood on the hands there... Oh yeah, and the Christian god, didn't he kill the entire first born population of an entire country???

      August 25, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bioartchick

      Joanne, how would it float with you if someone didn't consider you a real Christian? If they aren't Christian like they profess to be, then what are they? See, the reason we have so many different religions and denominations is because we all have our own ideas about what is right. The atheist position is the only one that is rationally defensible though, so there is really no ground to stand on to argue theologically since reason and logic do not apply. Another interesting reason for denominations, especially within Christianity, is a result of interpretation– preexisting knowledge and opinions about theology and morality that we then apply to the Bible to interpret it. Just some fat to chew on.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • JiminTX

      "Real Christians" wouldn't force their beliefs on others. "Real Christians" would read the bible. "Real Christians" would follow Matthew 6:5-6 and pray in the closet rather than on "the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. "

      August 26, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  6. Colin

    There are certain things religions cannot do: bring about world peace, splice genes, hit a curveball, bring people back from the dead, etc.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Mark

      hahaha, "hit a curveball" that made my day

      August 26, 2011 at 7:15 am |
  7. mc

    I bet there was a lot of praying going on in the top floors of the towers... lot of good it did. No invisible gay-hating sky-friend swept in and saved anyone. Prayer is a ridiculous concept – if "god" is all-knowing, from the beginning of time to the end, he already knows if you will pray or not and already knows how he will answer. "the power of prayer" – so powerful it can change "god"s mind? Religion is just a mess of contradictions – always answered with the silly "you just have to belieeeeve". Grow up people, and get out of the dark ages already. Or go burn a witch, like the bible commands.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Martin T

      @mc, I agree with you there my friend. There is no "Power" in prayer, it is a useless activity designed to "maybe" make the person doing the praying feel better for the moment. Studies have shown time and again that prayer does not work, even studies done by religious organizations find the same results.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • Matt

      last time i checked my bible didnt say anything about burning witches, And Gay, thats ust a crime against nature.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • lord avie

      To the both of you. Hope that is your approach on judegement day?? Good luck!!!

      August 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Lord... Thank you, that's such a good Christian response that I have come to expect over the course of time.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      @ mc,,,,,,,,,,, Don't you mc know that, "Without male assistance, Gaia(The Earth) gave birth to Uranus (the Sky) who then fertilized her." ?

      August 25, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Ben

      Matt, you said "And Gay, thats ust a crime against nature.", so how come your "god" made so many gay animals?

      Reference: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html

      August 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  8. Ben

    Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light, and we love you Lord.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • mc

      I thought Allah was... or buddha... or the easter bunny. I guess it all comes down to where you were raised, what "ultimate truth" you believe.

      But I KNOW I have been touched by the flying spaghetti monster's noodly appendage.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Martin T

      Any comment here would be Too Easy... so I just say, good for you my friend, good for you..

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Indyman

      There is no historical proof that Jesus ever existed. None. Nada. Go look. The Buddha was a human and never claimed to be a god or anything magical. Unfortunately, too many of his "followers" haven't read his teachings. The idea that anyone is up "there" listening to your prayers is as silly as believing in Santa Clause. Get over it, already.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sporkify

      Precisely right, Indyman. Of the 40 or so notable historians of Jesus' day, not a one mentions his name. There's no historical evidence that any man named Jesus (Yeshua) ever existed or performed any of the acts attributed to him.

      Not that facts will sway the god-heads, of course, but we gotta keep on truckin'.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Robert

      Yep, got nailed by his noodly appendage just recently, too. Darn funny.

      August 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  9. Martin T

    "I'm telling you I saw it first hand, the power of prayer," he added of his time at ground zero on September 11, 2001.

    I wish Religious NUTCASES would stop making these kinds of broad statements. What did he witness firsthand that he can show us about the power of prayer? I would LOVE to see something substantive, not just some whacko spouting nonsense or someone pulling a piece of metal out of the wreckage that happened to be in the shape of a cross and claiming that god put it there. Yeah, and god put that white anglo face on my toast today, too and told me it was Jesus.. Sure, sure...

    August 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Martin, I've seen many miracles in my life and the power of prayer. I've also been where you are, a non- believer in such things and a skeptic, Agnostic, atheist. I can tell you from experience, theres absolutely nothing anyone could tell you or show you to prove a miracle they've seen. When you see one, you'll know it. And you won't be able to explain it in a way that makes sense. I'm not being argumentative. I just hope and pray you see one someday that rocks your world in a good way brother. Blessings to you and yours.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Tek, I am happy for you, but I simply do not believe you. I believe that you honestly think you experience a miracle, but my training in psychology would lend me to think that there is another explaination for your experience.

      What I am seeking is some easily tested proof of the power of prayer. Simple way to do that, take all the people in a church and have them pray for all the people in Africa to be healed and fed. See if god answers even ONE prayer.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Whatever

      If a prayer can make someone more comfortable and at peace during a time of pain and terror then prayer is powerful regardless of who may or may not be listening.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Fair enough. I'm sorry you don't believe me, but thats more your concern than mine. As for feeding the kids in Africa, the folks at my church do that as well as South america, China, here locally, etc. God calls us to. And he provides the resources, time and heart to do it. Sometimes it miraculous and supernatural ( seen that many , many times) sometimes, its him working through his Church( people who believe in him and go where he sends us) – Glad you have training in psychology and suspect from your heart that I get here, you use it to help people- Take care –
      Blessings to you and yours.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Oh- sorry Martin- missed the second half of your post. Christ and all of scripture is pretty straight forward in that you will not be allowed to see if you lack faith. He also mentions many times that people will ask for proof in miraculous signs and they won't get it. So I'm sorry, you'll never get proof to lead you to faith. Again, I've been there. Blessings.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Whatever, that isn't really factual. Studies have shown that parents of dying children who pray are actually LESS likely to feel comfort than those who accept that death is a part of living. The parents who claim to be religious are often at odds with their religion and feel guilty and betrayed when their prayers go unanswered. Sorry, but that line of thinking is typical and fails every time.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:06 pm |
    • Indyman

      Tekshepherd: Please describe one miracle you claim to have seen. Just one. This nonsense reminds me of a survivor of a natural disaster whose entire neighborhood has been leveled, most of his neighbors are dead, and he says, "god saved me.!"

      August 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Whatever

      The results of some study of a large group of people are irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. For an individual prayer may or may not be helpful based on their own religious beliefs. Sure, it may not be helpful for everyone, but if saying a prayer can help a suffering individual, then it does have power. I have known multiple people who have found peace through faith and prayer during times of suffering.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Whatever, OK, but meditation and self-soothing will get the exact same results, without the guilt...

      August 25, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Boy indyman, thats a tall order- I'm on my way out with my wife to a movie- I've seen quite a few- I'll try to narrow it down to one thats easy to describe and will leave you with plenty of room to question my sanity πŸ˜‰ – Will post later- Blessings to you –

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Joel

      @ Whatever "If a prayer can make someone more comfortable and at peace during a time of pain and terror then prayer is powerful regardless of who may or may not be listening."

      Agreed, but if that's your line of thinking, than crack cocaine (or any other drug) would be just as powerful. Go ahead, replace the word "prayer" with "crack" in the above quote and you'll see what I mean. I have always believed theism to be a drug. Just like drugs, the user leans on it more in times of stress, pain, fear, etc. Also just like a drug, religion can be a dangerous in the wrong hands. I am not bashing theists, even though I am not one. I have always been open to ideas and thoughts of others, but the more I Independently viewed religion and peoples uses, needs, reasoning behind having it, etc, the more and more my "drug" theory seems to fit.

      But, just like the rest of mankind, what do I know for sure? Nothing.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      Ok indyman.
      I've seen many, many miracles, from day to day small things ( getting exactly what you need at the right time, hearing a small voice tell you to avoid something that might harm you, etc) to big, earthshaking stories far to long for this forum but extremely real. I've also had God speak directly to me in clear, audible tones ( A voice if you will) in a way that actually stopped me in my tracks. Not once but several times over the course my life ( I'm 40) –
      Heres a short one that happened yesterday. It won't be the earth shattering stuff ( although it is VERY cool I think) but honestly, those stores require a LOT of setup for you to understand, and as you're skeptical , are kind've a lot of time to type up for you to not believe ( My kids deserve to see me more than I feel the need to try and reason you into some kind of belief)
      I am currently putting together a new ministry revolving around music. Yesterday morning, I was praying to the Lord to give me direction on some of the coursework I'm putting together in this ministry to raise up worship leaders and get musicians out using their gifts for praise and worship. I had been working a lot ( I'm a volunteer worship leader at my church and also a mens minister- volunteer also- meaning I work full time from home as a self employed technology consultant, small business contracted I.T Person) and hadn't had the time to prepare, but I've been feeling very led to get this ministry off the ground. So anyways, I pray for guidance in the area of the best way to organize a particular portion of this ministry. About an hour later , one of my kids tell me theres a client at the door. I go to the door and find it isn't a client, but two Women- Jehovahs witnesses. I'm not a Jehovahs witness, but I invite them in and start talking to them about my ministry ideas. One of the ladies looks at me very strangely and reaches into her bag. She pulls out an awake magazine and hands it to me. The topic of the whole thing? Music. The first page is an exact, lined out example of EXACTLY what I was trying to organize in my head but did not have time to do. In short. An EXACT word for word answer to my prayer of a few hours earlier.
      I'd like to point out that I don't get Jehovahs witnesses here too often, and never during the work week. I'd also like to point out that She only had one of these in her bag, and it wasn't the magazine she was normally handing out. I thanked her, told her she was an answer to prayer and that I appreciated her help in my ministry.
      What do you think the odds are here of that exact thing occurring in that exact timing? In any case, pick it apart. I assure you I'm quite sane though I've heard God talk to me, and I have literally hundreds of little events like this as well as some big, life or death type things as well. I also know many, many people personally who have similar experiences on a constant basis.
      And its Ok with me if you don't believe. I am just witnessing ( to witness is to tell you what I've seen and heard in the first person) – Take care and blessings to you and yours-

      August 26, 2011 at 12:52 am |
  10. adam

    I think they should be allowed to talk at the ceremony about how the folly of religion led to the events on 9/11.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  11. WhackyWaco

    People should boycott the 9/11 event as it is becoming meaningless.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  12. JayGee

    I would like to know if the pastor saying he is disappointed is against a Mosque being built at ground zero.

    I am a Christian. However, I was appalled at all the backlash for a Mosque near ground zero... you can't ban one religion from doing one thing then get mad when you can't do the same thing. It doesn't work that way. This is the United States of America, and we should promote religious freedom, not cherrypick what religious establishments we want built near our memorials like Ground Zero.

    The fundamentalists who were outraged at the thought of having a Mosque at groundzero dug their own hole with this. If we had supported free construction of religious places of worship for the mosque, perhaps the 9/11 service would be more willing to allow prayer and other religious services.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • RIALgal

      Well said! Thank you.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Mark

      You're a true American. Thank you.

      August 26, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • Loneylefty

      Well said – the only freedom so many want is the freedom to shove their religion down our throat!

      August 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Tekshepherd

    So show up and pray. Jesus was not about being in the ruling elite. Show up to the event, pray for each other, Pray for our leaders,pray to comfort those who lost and those who hate you or think you are ignorant for praying. Doesn't have to be an organized thing, The Church does not consist of the lead pastor or priest saying a few words. It's every single believer. If its between you and God, let it be so, and fear no evil or man telling you you are not allowed to pray. Its not religion. Its a relationship with Jesus Christ. He doesn't care if you have a podium, the podium or are in charge of the ceremonies.Thats not the point.Those folks in the new testament who thought it was were called pharisee's and the Killed Jesus. He wants genuine and honest affection and relationship with him. Later and blessings to you all.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  14. Alex in NJ

    There is far too much emphasis on the separation clause at the expense of the free exercise clause. i totally believe in separation of church and state. i myself am an atheist. but reality is people have the right to freely exercise their religion in public. i also love how the left preaches so called tolerance yet is so, bigoted and hateful towards the religious.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • Alex in NJ

      most religious people i've met have been wonderful nice people who just happen to believe some things that i do not. every atheist ive met besides myself has been a smug, self important jerk.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
    • JayGee

      Alex, there are a lot more people like yourself than you know. I am a Christian and have many atheist friends who feel similarly as you – they see my religion as one mere difference between us, and I feel the same about our atheism. We coexist peacefully, and I appreciate others like yourself that I can share conversation with without either of us being put on the offensive merely because of our religious affiliation (if any).

      Thanks for your post =]

      August 25, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • Martin T

      The separation clause has NOTHING to do with exercising their right to religion and everything with attempting to force others to participate in said exercise.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Alex... Wow, so besides yourself, EVERY other Atheist in the world is a smug, Jerk? Been deluded long, my friend? I have many Christian friends, as well as my own sons who are Christians, but they respect my non-belief and I respect their right to have a belief. The only issue I have is when they or anyone, seeks to make their belief a part of the establishment. There is NO place in secular society for religion as there is no place in religion for secularism. Let Christians keep their beliefs in their hearts, homes, and churches and out of government, schools, and the laws.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Brad S.

      I've seen many smug self-important religious people and atheists. I think that is more of a personality thing, rather than anything that can be attributed to their belief. I personally think agnostic is the most truthful position.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:48 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Brad, the agnostic position is perhaps the most logical, however, if one really looks at the evidence for and against gods, the only answer I can find is that the possibility of any god existing is so remote that I have to stick with atheism. There have simply been too many gods over the course of history that have been debunked, it is a matter of time before the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim gods all follow suit.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  15. koga

    I have to say i'm pleased and surprised by the good sense this shows. It's heartening to see the religiious strings loosen from another American event. Good show New York. I applaud your courage and stand firm with you against the tyranny and attacks of ALL religion.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  16. J

    well, most of the people who died are in hell anyway...so it doesnt really matter

    August 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • J

      but I guess nobody believes that, so no point in getting mad and responding...cause if you do, you show you DO believe in religion...

      August 25, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ J, please explain.. Are you saying that most of the people who died in the 911 attacks are in hell because of what? Were they not worthy? Are you a disturbed nutcase? I can tell you and everyone else with complete certainty that not one single person who perished during the 911 attacks, not the attackes or the victims, are in heaven or hell. I can say with only ONE certainty and that is that EACH and EVERY one of them is DEAD. Nothing more or less. Of course this does nothing to diminish their sacrifice or the senseless violence that occured, it just means there is no heaven nor hell. People need to STOP putting EVERYTHING that happens in the world in the context of religion.. it's just Plain Stupid.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • JoAnn

      J you are an ignorant person. The only reason you seem to know about hell is that you already know your going there. when you die, unlike those innocent people in the towers who are in Heaven with God.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ JoAnn, so EVERY person who died in 911 went to heaven? But what about the atheists in the towers, there were atheists in there you know. So, what about them???

      August 25, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
    • Sporkify

      Of course I believe in religion. It exists in the physical world, can be observed and to an extent quantified in a given population. And of course it produces whackjobs like you to entertain me during the slow hours at work.

      Doesn't mean your sky-wizard is real though.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  17. Martin T

    It is ABOUT time that people come to the realization that religion is NOT the answer to EVERYTHING in this country. 9/11 happened to people of ALL religious beliefs and non-believers as well. This affected an entire country, many of us who are atheists, and many who were of religions other than Christianity. It is time that the HUMAN RACE come together under the banner of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness without the constraints of ancient religions that have taught intolerance and bigotry for centuries.

    August 25, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • Telly

      Yes, because atheists like you would never seek to offend or insult others who don't subscribe to your beliefs. Oh, wait a minute:
      "IS there ONE Christian who can defend his/her faith with reason and rationality? My bet is on NO."
      How considerate of you.
      Though I do agree that this is not a Christian, Jewish, or Muslim-exclusive event. I'll say my prayers at home, and donate to a charity for 9/11 families.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Martin T, why don’t you move to a communist country that blots God out. All you foolish dry bones can be miserable together.

      Amen.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Martin T

      @ Heavensent, see that is such a typical Christian response to atheism. Why would I leave a country that accepts and supports my decision to be a freethinker? The US is NOT a Christian country, nor does it have any problem with my lack of belief. Perhaps it is the good Christians who should seek refuge in another land away from us secularists.....

      August 25, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • i wonder

      HeavenSent: "HeavenSent
      " why don’t you move to a communist country that blots God out. All you foolish dry bones can be miserable together."

      Why don't you move to a theocracy. All of you soggy bones can be miserable together arguing and pontificating about which interpretation of whose imaginary god to bow to and who is going to hell.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • i wonder

      p.s. HeavenSent, Knowing you, I'll bet that you would end up to be an 'oppressed' malcontent there too.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
  18. When Will The Madness of Religion Fade Away?

    Religion just cannot stand not being the center of attention.

    Hey religious freaks! It's not about you! Get over yourselves and your weird cult delusions! Show some respect instead of shamelessly grabbing the spotlight!

    August 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
    • Tekshepherd

      As a Christian, I'd say you are 100% correct. Religion never did anyone any good. A 1 on 1 relationship with Jesus Christ is a completely different story. That makes all the difference and produces many, many dramatic changes in a person. I'm here to tell you he'd agree that being the center of attention is bad. Blessings to you and yours.

      August 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  19. AGuest9

    Since religion CAUSED 9/11, maybe it IS better left out, and have every body just show up as human beings.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • RIALgal

      No, some very evil people caused it. I do agree, though, that showing up as human beings is the thing to do for those who want to be part of the memorial gathering.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
  20. Tanin

    "There's certain things that government cannot do [...] answering questions of meaning of 'Why are we going through this?' "

    Because human societies have for too long respected religion, allowing its establishment in some countries to cultivate people that are of such unwavering religious faith, it allows them to commit mass murder.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.