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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. iNFINITY STYLE DESTINY

    i plan on spending $200 to celebrate the 9/11 this 9/11 .
    how much is everyone else spending ?

    – Sumer Kolcak

    August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  2. JS

    9/11 Ceremony is going to turn into a 2011 Memorial for those 10s of 1000s who will perish in the wrath of Hurricane Irene.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
  3. SSampson

    If people want to 'pray' they can do it on their own – there is NO need to inflict all citizens with the religious beliefs of part of the group that is attending..... This should be an event for everyone... to do that, divisive ideologies must be removed

    This is not a limitation of people's rights – it is acceptance of diversity – I applaud this decision

    August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Agreed. This is an INCLUSIVE ceremony, not a divisive or exclusionary one.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
  4. watchinglistening

    And NYC continues it's spirial into the abyss of Progressivism , Evil and Cultism.
    You Reap what you Sow.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Those of us who haven't sold our humanity to god call if compassion.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      watchlistening..you god is doing a great job in Africa by the way..

      August 25, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • joand

      Why? Because they recognize that religion doesn't need to be bashed over people's heads, and instead are allowing people ample time to reflect in whatever way they most find comfort in?
      But still, if eschewing religion is wrong, I don't wanna be right!! LOL!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 1:33 am |
  5. HappyMeal

    It's better this way. Multi-religious prayers are meaningless. Families and friends of victims should pray from their hearts.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • tallulah13

      For once, I agree with you.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  6. Jim

    I heard a first responder interviewed on a news show a few nights ago. He questioned why there was no room at the upcoming 9/11 ceremony for those like him- those who dug through rubble looking for survivors and, eventually, bodies of the victims. This for a great length of time following that fateful day. Now I read that there will be politicians and elected officials in attendance, but, as stated, no room for those first responders. Would it not be refreshing to see some (all!) of those officials who were no way near the tragedy of that day to give up their seats to those who put their own lives on the line?? I know it will never happen, but, hey, wouldn't it be something????

    August 25, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That would be wonderful, but the politicians need the facetime.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
  7. Answer

    Here's for the rational religious person who can think.

    Think about your version of heaven, describe what is there. Do you have a corporal body or are you just a ball of energy?
    Now I figure that most of you will be saying a "body". Your line of thought is the preservation of an existence – passing an ideology of life in heaven. Eternal with God.

    About topics of food. Do you eat? Do you have s_x? Can there be virgins – forever in heaven to please all of you?
    Do you maintain your social status as only christians can be there? Whose below you in rank?

    Let me hear some answers. You say heaven is there. You believe, let's hear the answers.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Colin

      Whoever it is that you call in times of "crisis"- call them. Call them now!

      August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Answer

      We atheists dare ourselves to ask the important questions.

      That is our creed. It is foolish to just accept whatever garbage spews out onto our paths.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • Remember

      I wont go if there is no pizza. Or TV and movies. Or roller coasters. Chocolate milk shakes. Single malt scotch. Beach. Oh, and yes that s_x item you mentioned is a deal breaker if it isnt included in the package.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  8. rvillite

    As long as clergy from all faiths that died in these attacks are represented, I have no issue. It is wrong to have just a bishop or rabbi be present as there were people from other faiths (including muslims) that perished in the attack.
    Either have all of them or have none of them. What makes you think that a bishop can soothe a muslim's relative when he believes that one who does not accept Jesus Christ as the savior (ergo the muslim and his relatives) will go to hell. Is that any way to pay homage to the victims ?

    August 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • JiminTX

      Just make sure and include a Humanist, a Unitarian, etc. etc. etc. on that list. Beliefs aren't limited to those who worship supernatural beings.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Really???

      @JiminTx that would be OK as long as they are tolerant moderates willing to coexist & capable of refraining from prosthelytizing (unlike the people on this forum).

      August 26, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Really???

      There were representatives of all the major religions at the 1st service, & there has been every year until now. If smaller religions needed accommodation, Bloomburg should have ditched some of the political windbags to make room.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  9. Donna

    Observer.....have I ever told YOU that? No, i haven't......as a matter of fact if we were to meet, I wouldn't tell you that you were going to hell for not believing.....GOD will decide everyone's fate...not me. Would I be happy for you if you were to become a beliver in Jesus Christ....YES, I would love for you to be as happy and at peace as I am.....but will I judge you because you don't, no. Not my place.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Observer

      In spite of all the professed "love" from many Christians, the not-so-subtle bottom line is that those who disagree with them are considered to be such lowlifes that they deserve to spend etenity burning in Hell if they don't radically change.

      Now please tell about how mean people are if they put you down.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  10. J.W

    I am totally gonna go there and initiate a public prayer.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why do you think it's necessary? I'm sure those people of faith attending will be saying their own prayers. Why do we need a public display of a specific type of worship, when this is a memorial to people of many faiths who were murdered by religious fanatics? Is there no room for compassion, even at a moment like this?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • bob smeegul

      Please! By all means Pray at the 9/11 event.... just remember to keep it silent and without show, as it says right in the bible! :)))

      August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Clyde M

      Just what we want at an service commemorating an event that was made possible by religious zealots...someone who insists their religion is so important it should be forced on everyone else–their feelings be damned.

      How sad and juvenile a response.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Jerry M

      Yes, why don't you do that. Go and interrupt a solemn memorial with your personal beliefs. Maybe you could stand next to the Westboro Baptist d bags?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • J.W

      Jerry I was hoping to know what you believed so I can deny some of your rights too

      August 26, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • tallulah13

      JW, how exactly are your rights being destroyed by a religious ceremony not being allowed at a memorial ceremony for people of many faiths who were murdered by religious fanatics? Can you not put your religion aside for a moment, for the sake of compassion?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:48 am |
    • Jerry M

      J.W , I'm an atheist, and the presumption in your question is that the atheist equivalent of your public payer is no public prayer.

      Wrong.

      The opposite would be an atheist being allowed to stand up at the ceremony and tell everyone there is no God or heaven and that this was a mindless act of religious maniacs and nothing more. Thee is no deeper 'meaning' in the chaos.

      I won't be allowed to do that either.

      The difference is that I don't WANT to do that because I'm not a d bag.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • J.W

      You people should know by now Christians do not have compassion. We are evil. We are out to take over the world. We have suffered some minor setbacks, but we will find a way around those.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  11. Tracy

    why are you all so BITTER? Just wondering?

    August 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Remember

      There is no bitterness towards religion. 3000 people died and you want to talk to your imaginary friend. That is your business.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  12. Edmund Jaja

    Go Bloomberg! The power of hope and healing comes from within us alone.. human power!

    August 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  13. Remember

    For those of us who do not believe in a make believe deity, we should remember this day for what it was. What it did to New York and to the United States. If there was a real overseer in the clouds, then this would not have happened. Praying after the fact or any other time is useless. Remember the people on 9/11 who were just going to work to put food on their tables. Remember the firefighters that courageously saved people and then lost their lives. Remember the first responders and keep the other make believe stuff to yourself.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  14. free spirt

    God and country is now Country alone.....sorry it wont work and hasn't worked since we took prayer out of schools...Nobody can say we are better off now compared to then... Nobody

    August 25, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Observer

      Schools only have children for less than 1/3 of each of 5 days for less than half the year. The rest of the time, their parents and churches have them. How miserably have Christians failed at home and in their churches that they have to blame schools for their failures?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • JiminTX

      No one can say we are better off since the 1957 Chevy came out either. Yeah, that has more causation than prayer in schools.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Lady Godfrey

      So if "it hasn't worked since we took prayer out of school", why have the churches done such poor jobs of keeping religion alive in this country? Why were you depending on the schools?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      Hello, Free Spirit. I agree with your post and would like to say that I stll have a special edition issue of News Week from the days following those attacks. At the time, It seems that even NewsWeek thought it a good idea to put the words "God Bless America" on their front cover. It is all old hat now. How quickly people forget. God bless America, our Home sweet Home.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Clyde M

      I'll say it. We're better off now than we were then.
      The major court decisions that took prayer out of US schools were in 1962 and 1963. Since then, we've passed the Civil Rights Act, landed on the moon, increased the average hourly wage in the country nearly 50% (in inflation adjusted dollars from 16.87 in 1960 to 25.31 in 2010), more than doubled the per capita GDP (in inflation adjusted dollars from $21,133 in 1960 to $45,990 in 2010), gone from 7.7% of the population with 4-year college degrees to 29.5%, raised the average lifespan from 69.9 years to 77.9 years, lowered the infant death rate from 26 per 1000 to 6 per 1000, lowered the murder rate by 0.2%, lowered the teen pregnancy rate, invented computers and the internet, and lowered virtually every major crime rate.
      Oh, and the lowest federal tax bracket in 1960 was 20% and the highest a whopping 91%. In 2010, the lowest was 10% and the highest was 35%.

      So yeah...I stand by being better off today than we were when we had prayer in schools.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • tallulah13

      free spirit, is you name supposed to be ironic?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  15. objectiveopinion

    There is no god, and people wanting to include prayer/religion in the ceremony should ask why did god let this happen in the first place?

    August 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • free spirt

      I did ask and He said we deserved it for our warmongering ways! Look at Libya 17,000 bombs dropped on a country of only 6 million or one for every 340 people!!! and guess what He is not done yet with us yet.. 2,000 tornadoes in one month, record floods, and still record heat and record drought, 5 million acres burnt. earthquake east coast hurricanes coming and more to come

      August 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      God did not simply just "Let this happen". Thorough study of the Bible shows that God Almighty GIVES all people free choice and free will. To blame God for terrible events is both foolish and juvenile. In the Bible, some of the people came to Jesus and asked a question dealing with sin and judgement. Jesus replied by asking a few questions of His own. He said:" Were the men of Judea any worse sinners than anyone else of the men of Israel, they whom Pilate mingle their blood with the blood of their sacrifices? Or those eighteen men on whom the tower of Siloam fell, were they greater sinners than any other men? Nay, but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." Friend, some things just happen. It is called LIFE.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:51 pm |
    • Observer

      "To blame God for terrible events is both foolish and juvenile.'

      So why should we give God credit for good events ONLY? Make up your mind.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      freespirt..I think those answers that "god" gave you also match your personal opinion as well don't they...maybe it was not god at all.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Clyde M

      @Dave Davis:
      "To blame God for terrible events is both foolish and juvenile."

      Oh no...you don't get to have it both ways. God doesn't just get credit for the good and avoid blame for the bad. You can't praise god for rainbows and puppy dogs and butterflies and not give him equal credit for earthquakes, crippling or fatal birth defects, and parasitic worms that feed on human eyeballs.

      Besides the fact that these men, the ones who did this, did it BECAUSE of their belief in god. It was politically motivated in many ways, but the ability for it to take this form comes almost exclusively from the attackers belief in religion. These men were every bit as motivated BY god and by a belief in god as was Mother Teresa.

      God doesn't get to skate on this and other horrendous acts. When it says he created everything, that means EVERYTHING...including evil, sin, death, hell, and Satan himself. Even when men do choose, he decided what the choices would be. He MADE evil by definition.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:05 am |
    • i wonder

      Dave Davis: ""To blame God for terrible events is both foolish and juvenile."

      I don't... nor do I foolishly and juvenilely thank an imaginary god for pleasant events.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  16. Tracy

    Why do people have to get so personal and attack each other? I am a Christian and I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I believe I will go to heaven and I believe that hell is real. I love to share the Good news that is there for anyone to accept. It makes me sad when people would rather take a chance that hell is not real than to believe in God, who will change your life. I know He changed mine. But the great thing is we all have free will/ free choice! But in the end there will only be one answer......

    The whole point of this article is that we have freedom of speech but not when that speech is about religion. That is wrong in every way! Christians are being sensored and that is a violation of my free speech but nobody has a problem with that!

    It is really sad to see what the world is becoming! The secular world will continue to take God out and watch the destruction of the world! It is also sad that people would rather live with all this evil in the world. Very sad!

    August 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Observer

      "The secular world will continue to take God out and watch the destruction of the world!"

      First stated: thousands of years ago. Nothing new.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • RIKKI

      iF YOU BELIEVE ALL THAT STUFF YOU TALKED ABOUT YOU HAVE MY SYMPATHIES.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Christy

      I was raised Roman Catholic but have always been an atheist at heart. With that said, I am still disappointed by the decision to exclude the clergy. Out of respect for those who tragically died on 9/11 and for their families who turn to God for healing, I think the major has made a major mistake. I also think building and celebrating the Ground Zero mosque is adding insult to injury, and my heart goes out to the heroes who gave their life that day. You are in our collective hearts and minds and I will forever remember you.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Christy

      *mayor

      August 25, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Ian Talbot

      God, the Alpha and the Omeaga, the all powerful, the never ending timeless force that can not be destroyed, harmed, or torn down in anyway, is going to be somehow distraught by the idea that people wont pray to a misconceptionalized idea of him? Stop making god small. She's not what you think she is.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Tracy.. The saddest part is that it is religions them selves that are unable to get along and are the major problem of strife in the world.. It is easy to blame secularism because it is not an organised "force" and so makes an easy target, and allows religions to feel they do not have blame...how can they be wrong they have "god" as their benefactor? Until the ego is wrung out of religion and its need to dominate with out evidence nothing will change.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:11 am |
  17. Earnest Angley

    keep the peace,love, forgiveness religious nonsense to yourself, REAL AMERICANS WANT VENGENCE.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
  18. Answer

    I wonder if anybody has asked the religious zealots about the angels in heaven?

    Do they wear clothing? As you know Adam and Eve got blacklisted for their realization that they were naked.
    So thusly the angels in heaven should be naked. Otherwise they would have been thrown out also for wearing clothing due to their nakedness.

    Hmm, interesting. Let's expand that conclusion. Then there would be no angels in heaven to fight in the apocalypse.
    So God is defenseless – on his own. (Why assume in the book that fluff chapter about the war with the Devil and his minions, if God needs no war and defense?)

    Interesting – belief is really foolish.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • Your Answer

      Your an idiot!!!!

      August 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Answer

      Spoken like a religious nut who wouldn't and couldn't even go there. Not to even think it.

      Your war in heaven is even mentioned in your Revelations. How funny is that?
      Ahh you don't like to think – it distracts your belief right? Figures. Pitiful name calling is all that you are capable of doing.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Jesus is God

      I do not agree with Your Answer calling you names but, wow, your "conclusions" are really way off. Adam & Eve did not get blacklisted for realizing they didn't have clothes on. They were thrown out of the garden because they disobeyed God. God gave them a command and they didn't listen. When you tell your children to do something do you want them to listen and do what you say? Or are there no consequences? In the same way there were consequences for Adam & Eve. Then your point on there being no angels in heaven so somehow that would leave God with no power..... Who MADE the angels? Why would God all the sudden not have power if He didn't have angels? It's hard to follow your reasoning because it's pretty obvious that you have no real concept of the scriptures that you are trying to refute.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Observer

      Jesus is God,
      "you have no real concept of the scriptures that you are trying to refute."

      Please tell us all about serpents who understand language and speak. Quite a concept there.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Jesus is God

      Well, it wasn't a true serpent, was it? No, it wasn't. Once you wrap your head around the fact that there is more to this existence than what you can see with your naked eye then it's really not that hard to believe that the devil, who wants nothing more than for you to stay in darkness and disbelief, can trick us. Oh how I wish your eyes will be opened. Use that observant mind of yours to truely take an unbiased look. See what happens in your life.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:10 am |
    • Answer

      Why is there mentions of war in heaven? God is all powerful to dispense it with a flick. Man made that in your book. Truth.
      With all sub references to 'war' all stemming from mankind. God knows wars hence if logic follows right along. Why should God not know war. Peaceful then – your God?

      Why is there need of a Rapture? In your scripture? God made / created it all. Then men – yes crazy people, in your defence – echoes of your very kind. I do lump you along with them. God comes around 10,000 or so years and on a whim this God destroys it thusly. Hardly wise for a God.

      So following logic – the universe in HIS making is but flight of fancy – a whim to erase and start over.
      So we man kind understand our God? Or do we strike fear ourselves to control ourselves. It is proven that man isn't slave to God thusly in this conclusion. God is our slave.

      But I guess all these questions do not come to light in your justifications since sheltering your mind give you little
      substance to come to conclusions by yourself.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • Jesus is God

      It's seriously hard to follow you because you seem so confused. It's like you have heard many things and taken them to be true and built this whole foundation for your life around them. I am totally not trying to put you down AT ALL. I am trying to understand where you are coming from.
      Ok, first things first. The war in heaven was between the angels. You understand that, right? God was not fighting. Not to say that God will not fight. He will wage war. He is a righteous God. He is waging a war right now for your very soul.
      I'm not understanding your arguement about "10, 000yrs and God destroys it thusly". The "flight of fancy" part? Can you give me some more clues as to what you are talking about?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:34 am |
    • Jesus is God

      No? Nothing? Ok, then I'm going to bed. G'night.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Answer

      Waging a war for my soul. Laughable as always.

      Tell me about the earth, how old is it? What do believe is the age? 1 Million, a billion, 10,000 years?
      Now read your scriptures on the Rapture. Some of your crazies were out on May 21 professing it's coming.

      Put 2 and 2 together for the question that I have pointed out? Why is there need for a Rapture?
      Your God that you hold in your heart as I'm wording it is so flighty. A fancy delusion. A God in whatever time has past would come along and demolish the very foundations of his creations. When it pertains to a 10,000 years span, that is just ridiculous. Do you then question that your book came from the writings of man or not?

      If you're even sane you know that your book is man made. God never even had a hand in it's writing.
      You tell me, what God destroys his creations in a 10,000 years run? Or even a million? Do you know the infinite exists?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:46 am |
    • Answer

      Oh hey Jesus is God, if you're so into this God is saving my soul and the path to heaven stuff...

      Then read and answer what I have highlighted above about heaven. Since you're so kind to point out that is where you will be when you 'a human' dies. Where is it? Do you have a body and all the rest..

      Just scroll on up and answer. I like to see what delusions you have – and what kind of a security blanket you have locked your mind around. I know I will just die. I'm fine with that fact. I know you'll tell a wondrous story of how happy you are,
      and I'll tell you the same. So only the ponderings from above are relevant to myself.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:13 am |
  19. Donna

    I love God.....it's a very beautiful and personal thing. If you don't believe in God, that's your personal decision. But that doesn't give you the right, just because YOU don't believe, to belittle what is very important to me. Why do you non-believers feel you can do that? Does it make you feel superior? Because Your Not!!!! If you don't want to believe......DON'T!!!! But in the mean time, leave your comments to yourselves. Live in peace......

    August 25, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
    • Observer

      "that doesn't give you the right, just because YOU don't believe, to belittle what is very important to me."

      You belittle people by threatening them to "burn in Hell", which makes your statement pure hypocrisy.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Where did she say the burn in part?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • RIKKI

      MAYBE YOU SHOULD SEND A LETTER TO THE POPE ..THE BIGGEST SCAM ARTIST ON THE PLANET......

      August 25, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Observer

      Mark,

      I just pray it's not too late because eternity in Hell is not going to be pleasant.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm

      August 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Colin

      Hey Mark, still believe in the whole "talking snake" theory of the origin of the World? I ask becuase I was listening to a tape in my car on how Cromagnan Man displaced Neanderthals in Europe about 45,000 years ago, and I remember thinking to myslef, this is all wrong, because the World is only 6,000 years old and humans did not evolve – we were created by a magic sky-god.

      Wow Mark, we're lucky the World's most gifted paleontologists and archeologists have you to tell them how they are wrong and the bible is correct.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Joel

      @ Donna

      Funny, that's all I want too. I don't want to be preached to, I don't want to be told I'm going to hell for not believing, and so on. However, if you really are a reasonable person, you would HAVE to agree that theists do much more spouting of their beliefs. After all, isn't it a requirement of many religions to try and "save the wicked" and try and get people to believe in your line of thinking? If so, wouldn't that make you a hypocrite by asking non believers to stop challenging your faith when it is a requirement of your religion to challenge theirs? Why the double standard? Please explain....

      August 25, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      א  בְּרֵאשִׁית, בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים, אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם, וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ. 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

      Not sure where you get the 6000 that you feel I should believe in but that first verse of scripture is where my Faith believes the world began.

      Wow Colin .... Typed and read all of these responses on a iTouch PDA that was at 20% since 2200hrs.

      Maybe not a Red Sea miracle but darn cool in my book and my relief is here.

      L'chaim

      August 25, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      This reply isn't to you, Donna. It is to the folks who try to tell us that our belief in the reality of a literal Hell somehow voids all our goodness, compassion, etc. It no more voids our goodness than any other warning would void out the good things that we do. Rather, it simply re-inforces our love for humanity. If I, or Donna or any other Christian flags you over on the highway to tell you that "The bridge is out!" does that make us evil? And how much more important the things that deal with Eternity? If you do not want to believe, go on your way. A believer warning of hell can do you no harm.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • Tomo

      You need to think a bit on why an actual bridge being out and a hypothetical hell are completely different things. You also need to think a bit on why telling somebody they will burn in hell IS doing harm to them.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:12 am |
    • tallulah13

      You call your love for god a personal thing, yet you are upset that your god is being left out of the memorial ceremony. The price for worshiping as you choose is that you have to accept that others worship as they choose. This means sometimes no religion at all is the only fair choice.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:54 am |
    • Answer

      It always comes back to a hypothetical question with the religious.

      A "what if" ... What if I were to ignore the bridge is out warning? It's my fault – I may crash and die. I may not.
      This is a physical problem and it effects are physical. Injury aside it remains a personal matter – to accept responsibility.

      A hypothetical question about saving my soul in accepting religion as they want it, absolutely NOT. I will ignore their
      stupidity about their religion. It is a fairy tale – delusion! One in which I happily will ignore. Religion is insignificant and a waste of time.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  20. Ken

    This is one of the best articles I have read in a while. Kudos to NYC.

    August 25, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
    • Joel

      Agreed. This is a quote to a religious poster from earlier. "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." To which I replied:

      "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 11:38 pm |
    • Nat Q

      Yep.

      Bloomberg totally got this right.

      Religion and religious decisiveness CAUSED this tragedy. The last thing I want to see in a memorial service to the event is MORE religion.

      August 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Joel

      Well said Nat. It's about time someone put their foot down. If they are going to let the religious sect speak, then they need to let ALL ideologies have their say. Why do I think a double standard would rear it's head if letting everyone have a presence meant having to let an Atheist organization have its time to speak. Heaven forbid! That double standard has always baffled me. No one says peep when a Christian themed billboard goes up, but when one founded by an Atheist organization goes up, look out! Funny how freedom of speech and religious choice should only be enforced when it's in their best interest.

      Keep this ceremony for whom it was intended. The People! Not invisible spirits, not jolly fat men, not Zeus.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:00 am |
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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.