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. thelivingdead

    what dumb politician/preacher like Fernado Cabrera fails to understand ALL THE TIME is how offensive it is for those victims' families that do not worship his god to be forced to hear his prayers, his words "in the name of god" when the very people who flew those jet liners into the WTC/Pentagon did so purely "in the name of god" as well. they may be different gods to believers, but to nonbelievers they're exactly the same. "in the name of god" is nothing but an insult to them who have lost family and friends because of "god". it's a shame people like Fernado Cabrera actually got elected because his narrow mind and low intelligence can't comprehend this idea.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • pattic

      THANK YOU. Many Christians (and by no means ALL Christians) insist on shoving their beliefs down everyone's throats. (If you are not one of these people, this doesn not pertain to you!) I wonder how they would feel to be part of a program that included Buddhists, Hindus, atheists, pagans, Wiccans, and Satanists. They would be horrified that these alternate belief systems were being shoved down their throats, and horrified that these people are given a voice. I'll accept a "prayer service" if EVERYONE has a voice! Til then, Christians, pray on your own time.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • A Theist

      I think it'd be pretty cool to actually put that on. With like a "speed religion dating" sort of thing, where you get 15 minutes to talk to someone of a different belief (including Atheism and Agnostic who denies or accepts a deity) and then rotate. Too bad so many people blindly hate...

      August 26, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Fred1

      No, it’s the same god. The terrorists that flew the planes into the trade center worshiped the same “god of Abraham” as he Christians that are so PO’ed because they can’t use this as a PR event

      August 28, 2011 at 12:01 am |
  2. Rainer Braendlein

    For a long time the mankind was tortured by the pope and Muhammad. However, they are even not the top class of tormentors of mankind. This will be the Beast.

    A last kick against the wicked papacy, also it declines anyway (look at Spain, Germany, Austria, etc..).

    Pope Gregory VII (1020-1085) was one of the first men, mixing politics with religion. Like Muhammad he filled the world with blood, in order to increase his earthly power, honour and riches. Muhammad and the pope used religion as smoke screen for their malice:

    Docu-ment Dictatus Papae (by Pope Gregory VII, the Antichrist)


    8. That the pope alone may use the imperial insignia.

    9. That of the pope alone all princes shall kiss the feet!!!

    10. That his name alone shall be spoken in the churches.

    11. That this is the only name in the world.

    12. That it may be permitted to him to depose emperors.

    19. That he himself may be judged by no one.

    That is without limit: That papal laws are still valid! It's only that the today secular powers are too strong at the moment and the pope cannot behave like he wishes to behave. I hope the US will recover economically, otherwise the papal monster will seize rule again.

    Joke: "I believe in God, the Pope, the Allmighty!"

    Note: I guess, longterms the pope and Muhammad will increasingly get displaced by the Beast (a community of godless states, ruled by the Arch-Blasphemer).

    August 26, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Don't do meth

      Glad to see another one of my loyal customers is here! How you doin Rainer? Can I fill your crack pipe up again?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Jonathan

      What!?!? I really cannot find something wrong with religious leaders that wish to solemnly and respectfully honor the dead. Especially during the commemoration of an event that has come to define our nation and our generation. Heck I remember when and where I was when I first heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center, I was eleven and my Dad was taking me to school that morning. He started crying when he heard about it and I did as soon as I saw the first clips of the attack at school. I would be seriously insulted if those who profess to believe in a loving God and caring wouldn't at least try to show the same solemn respect for that day as I still do.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein


      Don't get me wrong. I am a Protestant. I would like a society, where attending church sevices would be an important part of public life.

      It is only that the heretics (often called religious people) like Muhammad and the pope are prestages of the Arch-Blasphemer.
      The Arch-Blasphemer will exceed the pope and Muhammad in bloodshed.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Oh Grow Up

      I think we should concentrate on the facts that could have prevented this tragedy. They DID know enough to stop it, but the intelligence services did not connect the dots. Why not spend our time on that, which would be productive, and a learning experience, instead of on "memorial" services, and other useless nonsense. Nothing is going to bring them back, and if there were a god, it would have prevented this. It was NOT "there" that day, no matter what anyone says to comfort themselves and rationalize the events of that day. What are we missing and ignoring TODAY that we shouldn't be missing ?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • think for yourself

      "For a long time the mankind was tortured by the pope and Muhammad. However, they are even not the top class of tormentors of mankind. This will be the Beast."
      Yet, your god is supposedly going to torture 70% of the current population forever after death. "He" would be at the top class of tormentors of mankind. Even if your god did exist, how anyone would worship "him" is beyond comprehension.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  3. Absolutes


    August 26, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • The Bobinator

      He doesn't allow evil. He created evil. It's stupid to argue that the all knowing creator of everything didn't create something.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Mike

      What amazes me about guys like this is that they can only frame an argument based in their own frame of reference. The existence of god and evil is completely relevant without a "creator" based simply upon the general benefit (good) or harm (evil) done to society. Similarly, the value of a person can be measured in the degree to which he/she benefits or harms society without requiring a "creator." In fact I believe a person who does "good" without the urging of a "creator" is far more "good" than a person who does good because his "creator" tells him he should.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Mike

      Oh no... make that "The existence of good and evil..."

      Ya think god caused me to commit a typo?

      August 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Absolutes

      THe argument is that there is exists a Moral Law giver who is supreme and the 'Creator' without whom the definition of good become relative, what is good for Mike may not be good for Dave and so on...

      August 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • Mike

      Please provide more than anecdotal evidence for the existence of your "Moral Law Giver." And "FAITH" does not count to a person who does not share that FAITH, so a little emprical proof is what I'm after here... not just more example of the source justifying itself...

      August 26, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Absolutes

      The proof is life of 'Christ'
      Faith and God can not be separated, you need faith to believe in God, it is like you asking one to prove that they can swim without water.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mike

      🙂 Blind Faith at it's Finest

      August 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Nat Q

      Disingenuous wordplay and intellectual sleight of hand at its finest. Thanks for posting it for all to see!

      August 26, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • Think

      @Absolutes- Good Post! Thanks!

      August 27, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  4. Come2Papa

    @Hayden71. "... shows the blindness that we have allowed ourselves to fall into." does that blindness possibly include your faith in a book compiled by dozens of people from thousands of years ago proclaiming to be the students of some dude who proclaimed to be the child of god? please don't tell me that you've seen god and that's why your faith is not "blind".

    here're a few more passages for you.
    "Professing themselves to be true believers, they became suicide bombers..." surely you must think you're superior than muslims because your god is the true god, right? 😉
    "Professing themselves to love jesus, they became child molesters..." god must've loved those pedophile priests equally or they won't have gone unpunished for centuries, right?

    August 26, 2011 at 10:53 am |
  5. myweightinwords

    Religion does not belong in a ceremony like this. The moments of silence provide each individual with a moment to reach out to whomever they believe in/worship/turn to.

    This ceremony is not for remembering how any particular religion feels about what happened on 9/11, it is for remembering those that lost their lives, those that gave their lives and for those they left behind. It is about healing festering wounds, not opening new ones.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • mary bonner


      The Rev. Mychal F. Judge, the Fire Department chaplain who died in the rubble of 9/11, was, and still is, one of the most widely loved Roman Catholic priests in New York City's recent history.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • BRC

      He should, and I imagine will, be recognized as a caring man and a greatindividual, who died giving aid to others. Those who wish to will be given several opportunities to pray for him, and those who wish to pay other respects will do what they feel best honors him. Is there anything stopping this?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Fred1

      The god of Abraham that the religious terrorists destroyed the towers for is the same god of Abraham that the Christians want to suck up to in public.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:10 am |
  6. Dave

    oK, SO HERE'S A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF HOW i THINK RELIGION MOST LIKELY GOT STARTED. iT BEGAN WITH THE HUNter gatherers. The men are out all day hunting, the females stayed behind to raise the children. The women started religion and were the high priestesses in order to pass on the wisdom and knowledge that had been learned by the tribe. The men would come home all randy and all and would say they believed just to get in the pants of the females. That's how it was then, that's how it still is today. P*whipped men trying to get some tail. Abstinence was put forward as a religious rite simply to explain why they struck out.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Wow, misogynist much?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Dave

      Nah, because I'm not finsihed. I'm not even halfway through. Hang on.

      So then the males took away power from the females and beat them to submission and the men started to run the religion. Then they found the females still weer not putting out because the men screwed everything up.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Actually, I take it back. Your post is just as insulting to men.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Dave

      That's right, because we are all equally dumba$$es for believing in this cr@p.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Dave

      That's right, because we are all equally dumba$$es for believing in this cr@p. Myself included.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Dave is Always Emotional

      We meet again Dave. Off the wagon again I see–I'm not surprised. You need to get your emotional hatred under control. You sound like a little kid on the playground who's been told it's time to go home. Cut the tantrum and the anger, it's just making you look scared and alone.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Dave

      @ Dave is emotional; thanks for making my point....dumb-a$$

      August 26, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Dave is Always Emotional

      ... Or just keep talking, your choice. Just throwing some advice your way to help you realize how childish you seem to the rest of us.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Dave

      @ Dave is Always Emotional; I am sorry. You are one the religious nut whacks that are being offended by those of us who are successfully discrediting all religion. I am sorry to hear how retarded you are. Maybe an aspirin will help?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Dave is Always Emotional

      Carry on Dave, please. It's entertaining. The saddest part is, I'd be more than willing to have an open discussion with you about your opinions on religion, but you're so defensive that you assume that I'm some sort of "religious nut whack" simply because I disagree with you on this point. Enjoy your tirades Dave, you're comments speak for themselves.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Dave

      Dave is Emotional, this Dave is not me, the Dave from yesterday. I took my meds and went to bed last night and have given up posting on CNN. Just so you know he is not me. Different Dave.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • All Daves are Emotional... but Some Wisen Up

      Well isn't this a surprise! Thanks for the tip, I thought your/his writing seemed different today (this new Dave is a little dumber, I'm afraid.)

      August 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • It's All About Control

      Religion is now, and always has been, an attempt to explain the observations of the Pink Monkeys to themselves, and their need to feel they have some control over the environment they observe. It doesn't really work, and all the religious systems are very illogical, and nonsensical. But it DOES fulfill the need. Religion will never "go away", until the need is addressed in another way.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  7. Light In The Black

    100 people on a plane.
    Plane crashes and 99 people die.
    You christians thank god for the miracle that one lived.
    But you dont hold god responsible for the 99 who died.
    You people are twisted.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Laughing


      "God has a plan" – Translation: I have no fuc.king idea why those people died, But gods awesome so I'll try to find the silver lining.

      Got anymore brainbusters?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  8. Civiloutside

    I believe this is a good thing. It's the government-sponsored event to commemorate the attacks, not a religious observance. It's interesting that in one breath Mr. Cabreras can claim that the government can't answer the questions of how people should deal with the tragedy, and in the very next breath claim that they are obligated to do exactly that by giving him or someone else like him the forum to proclaim their one particular take on it that excludes other options.

    If people feel they need to turn to a religious outlook for comfort, that option is available to them on nearly every street of this nation. Religious insti-tutions are free to hold whatever memorials they feel are appropriate. But the government is under no obligation to gather audiences for religious observance.

    Clergy is invited to speak at so many ostensibly government functions that many seem to believe they are enti-tled to those audiences. What we're seeing here is the shock of discovering that no, really, they're not.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:42 am |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    Why do we call the Middle Ages dark age sometimes?

    What made life so unpleasant during the dark age?

    There are two reasons: The impact of the pope and the impact of the Muslim Arabs (Saracens).

    Here, I will focus on the influence of wicked papacy:

    After Gregory the Great (the last good pope) the wicked papacy was established by the criminal emperor Phocas (emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, 602-610 a. D.). Phocas made the Roman See the highest on earth, which was a crime.

    After wicked (wicked See means the highest See on earth) papacy was established, the papal office corrupted more and more in the course of time. After a while the popes not only presumed to be the bishops of all bishops, but they even claimed to be higher than the emperor or any king. This development peaked in the papal docu-ment Dictatus Papae (by Pope Gregory VII.), which declared that the pope was higher than the emperor from now on. This took place late winter of the year 1076 a. D..

    Have a look on wikipedia and you will see that from 1076 onward the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation (a former pope had made Germany the successor of the Roman Empire) just were called merely kings (before 1076 they were called emperors). Now hang on to your had: For 666 years the Pope was the Super-Emperor of the whole world up to 1742 a. D., when Germany became an secular emperor again (Emperor Karl VII.) One of the darkest periods of history lasted 666 years. Seemingly this date 666 is identic to the number of the beast 666, which is mentioned in the Revelation.

    Free Churches should stop to mind about the meaning of 666.

    From 1076 to 1742 a beast ruled the world. 666 years long the world was tortured by a beast.

    Of course, The (profane) Beast will be much worse than the papal beast of the dark age.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  10. Hayden71

    Stevie7 – If you take the time to read it, you'll see that it has no problem with you maintaining your intelligence.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  11. Hayden71

    It's interesting how easy it is for society to push anything that represents God out now that the memory of 911 seems to be so distant.

    If we open our eyes and take an honest look, we'll see how that the more we push God out and anything that promotes moral absolutes out of society, and the more we allow immoral behaviour, the quicker society will unravel toward anarchy.

    The idea that we can live to our own depraved desires and allow our children to be indoctrinated by all the filth that the media promotes, without reaping what we sow shows the blindness that we have allowed ourselves to fall into.

    Consider the financial collapse and what will be the collapse of the US as a super power, escalating violence and anarchy (flash mobs becoming the latest fad)...and the list goes on and on.

    "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..." Romans 1:22

    August 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • Jose

      Amen to that!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Sassan

      Believing in god is one thing – but to believe in scripture in the 21st century means you are a lunatic. Grow up, learn some science.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Stevie7

      "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..." Romans 1:22
      The bible contains many passages telling us that we should be stupid. God does not like intelligence. That's not a god I want to worship. Why did he bother giving us intellect if he didn't want us to use it?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Hayden71


      It's apparent that you've never read the bible or you would've had a more intelligent response.

      It's obvious from your hateful response where your logic is coming from.

      There are many doctors, lawyers and other highly educated people who believe in God...this is not an issue of intelligence but it's really an issue of rebellion and the lack of acknowlegement of a higher authority and where this occurs, immorality and anarchy usually results.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:33 am |
    • Jose

      @ Stevie7 is the proof of Romans 1:22

      August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @stevie 7
      The biblical definition of a fool is not the English word stupid.The Bible defines fool as someone who has lied to themselves by saying there is no God.In a paraphrase of the brief ,out of context passage you reference, one could say ,professing themselves to be wise,they became atheists.Which one could agree is extremely stupid.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • mary bonner


      August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Civil words

      @sas.. is incapable of carrying out a civil conversation.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • Hayden71

      Stevie7 – If you take the time to read it, you'll see that it has no problem with you maintaining your intelligence.

      I would never accuse you of being unintelligent....I don't know you.

      I do think however that you should take an intelligent and honest look at the bible and I think you'd be surprised that it actually supports science.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Mike

      Please define a "moral absolute" that is shared by all religious faiths...

      August 26, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • Absolutes


      August 26, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Hayden71

      Mike Said,

      "Please define a "moral absolute" that is shared by all religious faiths..."

      I can share one that is shared by all people whether religious or not, "Thou shalt not kill".

      God has given us a conscience that tells us it's wrong no matter how much we try to drown it.

      Not sure what your point is.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The bible neither support nor condemns science – only believers do.
      It is all about interpretation!
      Not very long ago, the Catholic church espoused young earth creationism and geocentrism and were quite happy to imprison, exile, excommunicate and/or execute those who deigned to disagree.
      Since then, science has proven that the Genesis account of creation is impossible and the Vatican now admits the true age of teh universe and the veracity of evolution.
      The bible is not factual, it is allegorical. As such, it can be interpreted in any number of ways to support any number of positions.
      This is why there are some 38,000 denominations of Christianity.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • Mike

      That clip explains what a "moral absolute" is from the speaker's perspective. Name ONE "moral absolute" that is/was shared by ALL religious faiths throughout all of recorded history (I'll let you off the hook for prehistory since I will assume you don't believe such a thing existed).

      August 26, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Mike


      That is hardly an absolute.

      "Though shalt not kill" kill what? people, animals, bugs, microbes???
      "Though shalt not murder" does that include killing in the name of god or country??? or is it just a prohibition of personal killing? What about self defense?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • Laughing


      I got one for you

      Every religion across the world believes in one thing

      "I'm right, you're wrong and I'm going to kill you"

      August 26, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      "I can share one that is shared by all people whether religious or not, "Thou shalt not kill"."

      This is your example? How about tribes that sacrifice people? How about the fact that Honor killings were not only legal but encouraged in some eastern countries until just recently?

      There is no such thing as a moral absolute, its all just society telling people what is right or wrong.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Absolutes

      Absolutes come from God.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • BRC

      Actually, only the Sith deal in absolutes.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ Absolutes,
      But there are no absolutes, that's our point. I don't think you could name just ONE absolute that's been true throughout history.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Civiloutside

      ""Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools..." Romans 1:22"

      Sooo... The book dedicated to perpetuating a particular belief takes the low road of insulting anyone who doesn't believe it. Sorry if I don't find this particular verse to represent any kind of pearl of wisdom.

      Personally, I count it a mark in favor of the scientific approach that all the science textbooks I studied in college made their cases without having to resort to any variation on the phrase "... And if you don't believe this, you're an idiot."

      August 26, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Mike

      "Absolutes come from God."

      Which one? Only the people who believe in a particular "god" are morally compelled to honor his wishes/commands. If I don't believe then why should I feel compelled to pay any attention.

      I'm sure the answer is "MY God!" but how are you or anyone else to know you are right? All religions claim they are the "right" one... They can't all be right. In fact I suspect that all of them are probably WRONG! But of course, I could be wrong too... And if I am I will beg whatever god ends up being the right one for a break since he wasn't exactly clearly forthcoming on who he was. If he is as intelligent and compassionate as you claim he is I tend to think he might agree...

      August 26, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Stevie7

      "the Vatican now admits the true age of teh universe and the veracity of evolution."

      @Doc – not entirely true. The RCC begrudgingly admits that evolution is a valid theory ... but then goes on to maintain that all humans are descended from only two people – a woman who was actually named Eve and a man that was actually named Adam.

      And to those of you who don't think that god doesn't like intelligence – you don't have to even read past the first book. Your god forbid Adam and Eve to eat fruit of the tree of knowledge. Once they did, he decided to punish the rest of us forever. Nice.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Absolutes

      Here is one absolute 'God Exists'

      August 26, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Zeus

      "Here is one absolute 'God Exists'"


      Of COURSE I exist. And don't worry, anyone who doubts my existence had better get ready for some pretty serious teeth gnashing.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Mike

      "Here is one absolute 'God Exists'"

      Ahhhh the old "I AM who I AM" argument.

      Prove that Moses wasn't just smoking some funny middle eastern weed when he heard that. It's pretty convenient for Moses that "I AM" never spoke directly to anyone else.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mike

      I guess god is really messing with me today... typos and omissions all over the place... make that...

      It's pretty convenient for Moses that "I AM" never spoke directly to anyone else amongst the host of the exodus.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Hayden71

      Deny and reject all you want but know this.

      You have a conscience and it accuses you...you may try to drown it but you can't because you've sinned against God and the conscience he has given you is warning you.

      We have to meet him some day whether we believe it or not and he only gives us now to repent...you are not guaranteed another moment of life.

      "...God...now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

      "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

      "...unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

      August 26, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • BRC

      So how would you explain it if I were to tell you that I have never had concerns that I was offending god, and that while there are situations I wish I had handled better, I am completely comfortable with the person I am, and am proud of the way I live, despite the fact that I have never recognized or payed homage to any supernatural being? Shouldn't my head be screaming at me to change?

      August 26, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • someone


      "You have a conscience and it accuses you.."

      My conscience never screamed at me more loudly than when I continued the religious charade for way too many years after I began to discover the fallacies and nonsense of it. My conscience truly wailed when, because of family pressures, I had to indoctrinate my children with those myths, fantasies and supersti.tions. Fortunately, they survived... and are all non-believers today.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Civiloutside

      Or... Humans evolved to survive bes in community groups. A conscience is just the anxiety response that occurs when you know you've done something with the potential to cause you to be rejected by the community. By influencing you toward communally acceptable behavior, it improves your odds of survival and is therefore an evolutionarily successful adaptation.

      If you live in a community that espouses religious belief, and your conscience nags at you because you don't believe, it's not necessarily evidence that god exists. It might just be that you recognize the possibility that the community would reject you for your nonbelief.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce



      Here is one absolute 'God Exists'


      Absolute bullshit, of course!

      August 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Mike


      When push comes to shove all you have is a belief thatthere is a god and that yu are following the right one. Religious believers all over the world share the same pathology and are just as sure as you are that their's is "the one true god." You and they are all free to believe this to your hearts content but you cannot all be right! All things being equal, it is most likely that you are all wrong.

      As an agnostic I am simply intellectually honest enough with mysef that I admit that I have no way of proving or disproving anything... including what I can see with my own two eyes...

      August 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Fred1

      I think we should have a national day of cursing god for being totally asleep at the switch. Christians say America is 80% Christian and America is the most Christian of all the advanced nations. We should expect better from a supreme being

      August 28, 2011 at 12:18 am |
  12. Reality

    I'm telling you I saw it first hand, the power of prayer," – so says Fernado Cabrera a New York City councilman and the pastor of New Life Outreach International church in the Bronx.

    What??? If prayer is so powerful, 3000 human beings would still be alive today!!!

    Some rationality for posting on your refrigerator doors:




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

      Reality, I read your post and think that all those whom you spoke of died because o following man's wisdom. I you believe man's wisdom is so wonderul, how do you explain the condition of this world. With all the philosopher throughout history you would think they could have got it right by now. The only way to straighten out this world is through loving and respecting one another. I doubt that will happen any time soon, especially when I read the blogs and see all the hate in them. Political parties hate each other.Religions hate each other! Races hate each other! Non-religious and religious hate each other. However, it is not true that the hate comes from everyone! All the hate is coming fromj the extremes from all these groups. Those who are so extreme that they hate just because you identify with one group or another are the same ones who complain about other hating them but do not see the hate they have within them. I have met people rom all walks of life and they are good people. I may disagree witht heir veiws and beliefs but can still discuss thing with civility and repect. We allneed to do that.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Fred1

      @ exetaz: You mean the wisdom of man and the world condition where more people have enough to eat than ever before in human history? Or the condition where more people are literate than ever before? Or is it the condition where health care has gone from minimal to fantastic? You probably don’t mean the condition of walking on the moon, seeing to the edge of the universe or understanding our linage by sequencing our DNA. You’re probably not referring to the mirical of painless dentistry either. Perhaps you’re referring to our failure of only extending the average life span from 24 years to 83? Is it the part about where women and minorities who have been subjugated and repressed for 10’s of thousands of years only have achieved something like equality and protection in the last 100 years?

      August 28, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  13. StandforChrist

    NYC you called on God to help when the towers fell and He heard your call. Look around you and look at the healing the city has experienced. Today you are staring into the face of a storm unlike any you have ever faced and you say we do not need God. God stated in His Word, "My Spirit will not always strive with man," Be careful what you ask for NYC, You want God out of your lives, He may just give you what you are requesting. When you call on Him after the next dissaster, He may not answer. Do you really want to take that chance?

    August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Sassan

      What an illiterate post. So god was there on 9./11 to help with recovery? I would rather think it was the brave men and women who sacrificed their time and effort after 9/11, not "god". "God" surely helped the hijackers in their suicide missions in giving them the "conviction" to carry out the attacks. And to try to hint that "natural disasters are god's work" only demonstrates what a maniac you truly are.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • CosmoChick

      So God was there to help for the recovery, but, um, where was he when the tragedy occured? on vacation?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:08 am |
    • The Guy

      @StandforGlorifiedMagicMan, you, sir, are an idiot.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • Civil words

      Do u really need words like 'idiot' or 'maniac' to convey ur message?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • The Guy

      Yes, jacka-s.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      NYC you called on God to help when the towers fell and He heard your call. Look around you and look at the healing the city has experienced. Today you are staring into the face of a storm unlike any you have ever faced and you say we do not need God. God stated in His Word, "My Spirit will not always strive with man," Be careful what you ask for NYC, You want God out of your lives, He may just give you what you are requesting. When you call on Him after the next dissaster, He may not answer. Do you really want to take that chance?

      Wow...the crazies are out today.
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
      • False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

      August 26, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • Fred1

      The tragedy of the towers proves that at best god is asleep at the switch, at worst he is malevolent and most likely that he does not exist. After all America is one of the most god fearing Christian nations in the world. If he won’t protect us what hope does Europe have?

      August 28, 2011 at 12:48 am |
  14. Sassan

    Haven't we learned that religion is the main reason why 9/11 happened? This is an event to commemorate all those who died on 9/11, keep your religion to yourself and the moment of silence provided. Stop trying to impose religion upon the rest of society. We are a secular nation and should embrace this fact!

    August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
  15. Amit-Atlanta-USA


    a) Do we recognize a PURELY RELIGIOUS organization like the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference)

    b) To add insult to injury appoint an US AMBASSADOR (Rashad Hussain a defender of Muslim Brotherhood terrorists) to the OIC?, plus

    c) Appoint Imam Rauf (a radical Islamist who has said AMERICA DESERVED 9/11) as a GOODWILL AMBASSADOR to the ME.
    Has anybody in the admin. ventured out to translate his radical speeches in Arabic all over the ME even as he goes around as our goodwill Ambassador?

    d) Add to that the never ending religious pandering by various Islamist supporters lurking in our media (Fareed Zakaria, Dean ObeidAllah, Ethan Casey & a bunch of others on CNN), in our polity (Keith Ellison, Cynthi McKenney Ron Paul etc.), "So-called" Spiritual leaders (Imam Rauf, Farrah Khan etc.), academicia (Fawaz Gerges, etc.), all in the garb of religious freedoms, and whose only purpose is the greater Islamization of America.

    No wonder the country is fast losing its glorious, tolerant Judo-Christian heritage and surely becoming increasingly GODLESS & LESS SECURE!

    I say this being a non-Christian, non-white/black, and a recent immigrant to this greatest of nations!


    August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'its glorious, tolerant Judo-Christian heritage'
      you mean like it had during the time of slavery? trail of tears? jim crow? ah yes, that glorious tolerant judo-christian heritage.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Cedar Rapids

      i even meant to correct during the post and i didnt......you mean judeo-christian

      August 26, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • Sassan

      How naive. When Christianity ruled the west, we were in something called the 'Dark Ages' in which the Islamic world and the Chinese were the more "enlightened ones". Until we had the reformation and forced Christianity to become secularized, did we start to prosper in the west. Religion = oppression.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • Bai Ling


      Well Said Bro!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • The Guy

      CNN put this guy on Norway rampage watch...

      August 26, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      Cedar Rapids:

      Yes, there have been mistakes committed in all religions incl. Christianity, my own Hindusim, Judaism, Buddishm, etc. but we all have left those behind, and none of those can obscure the tremendous contributions to peace, universal brotherhood by these great religions.

      There is just one religion which is persisting with it for 14 centuries!

      Now, please don't go by another twist Iraq ( a stupid political war imposed by on us by Bush), Afganhistan (due to 9/11), or even the Jewish Holocaust which was largely INSTIGATED by the Muslims (by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and his Bosnian Muslim regiment).


      August 26, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • BRC

      Not to be dismissive, but your facts are a bit off. Yes Chrisitianity (in its many fractured branches that may or may not seem anything liek one another), has been around for 1400 years, but Judaism has been around for more than twice that, and there are other pagan religions (that while less common are still in practice in some places) that have been around since LONG before Jesus was even a gleam in his Father's eye.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:19 am |
    • BRC

      Sorry, I have to amend my statement. Judaism isn't quite twice as old, but it had several centuries on it.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      There are a lot of aethiest, excessively politically correct folks and some pretending to be one(!) here who find fault with my characterization of jud-Christian religions.

      Let me say this again being a devot Hindu, some of the kindest, noblest, most tolerant souls I have seen anywhere are Christians. Have you guys heard of the AMERUCAN RED CROSS. Do they check your religion befoer they help. That's true in my native India where Jesuit groups are doing yeoman service running some of India's finest schoosl & hospitals.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Red Cross is not a religious symbol.
      Along with the Red Crescent, and the Red Crystal, it is an internationally recognized symbol to be placed on humanitarian and medical vehicles and buildings to protect them from military attack on the battlefield.
      While the founder of the American Red Cross was a self-professed Christian, the organization itself is secular.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Stevie7

      @Amit – The American Red Cross is not now, nor has it ever been, a Christian organization.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Should the US stop appointing an ambassador to the Holy See, aka the Vatican and also home of the criminal (becuase he failed to protect children while protecting pedophiles) Pope-a-Dope?

      August 26, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  16. Bill

    Re: "the contribution faith, religion, and spirituality played in the recovery." Faith and religion certainly contributed to the event which made the recovery necessary.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  17. CosmoChick

    It's funny, because these 900+ comments are making Bloomberg's point for him. If you guys can't even agree over religion on a discussion board, how can one possibly think that there is one solution to make everyone happy in this ceremony. Once you go down the road of including certain religions, you will necessarily get a blacklash from those religions that don't feel properly represented... thus taking away the focus of what this ceremony is supposed to be: remembering the fallen. no preaching, no higher message...

    the only way for us to ALL get through this ceremony in a way that satisfies most, is to allow for the greatest amount of PERSONAL SPIRITUALITY... thus the emphasis on those moments of silence, that's where YOU get to communicate with YOUR GOD, under your beliefs... and it allows those that don't believe, to simply remember, reflect, and pay their respect.

    when people understand that you spirituality is essential in order to connect with yourself and with whatever greater power you believe is out there... instead of trying to prescribe one religion, one set of ways... and have another group tell you you're wrong because their way is the right way... if praying and following a set of rules is your spirituality, so be it. If connecting with yourself, personally, only holding yourself accountable, ensuring you can be the best person you can be, everyday, for you and your family; if that's your spirituality, then let it be that way.

    i don't understand why 1 person's way to worship or be spiritual has to come in conflict with another's. you are all on this board to proove that you are right and the other is wrong... all of you, atheists, christians, all... just let the other be already! why have to prove your way is right?

    August 26, 2011 at 9:54 am |
    • JoeG

      Thank you for some common sense.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  18. The Guy

    And how did Thomas Jefferson put it? Separation of church and state? Thought so. The argument simply ends there.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Unless you have people who read the Consti'tution and make arguments on what the framers meant when they wrote it.

      If things were like you say "simply ends there" ... Women would not have the right to vote and I would be texting in this post from the cotton fields.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  19. BRC

    There is another good reason to leave out formal recognition religion that many people seem to be ignoring. Faith certainly played a big part in MANY of the victim's families recovery (not all mind you). But how do we know that everyone had a good experience with faith? Yes, for some people faith brings comfort at times like these, but many people suffer a crisis of faith. They question how a loving god would allow their family member to die like that, to be taken away because of another radical group's faith? They aren't ready to accept a god or prayer back in their lives. Maybe they will be one day, but for now, they may just want to stop and remember their loved one, and see the support of the PEOPLE around them, who they can see and feel, and take real comfort from. Those people who want faith are allowed all the time for personal reflection, or to be near others that feel the same way as they want, but does one group's desire to have formal recognition of their beliefs trump the people who don't want to face theirs time for healing?

    August 26, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Oh Grow Up

      As it has countless times in the past and present, (the Holocaust, the Bubonic Plague, the World Wars, countless natural disasters, (floods, storms, earthquakes, etc), the Sky Myth was on vacation when, on a tiny speck of a planet, on a boring arm of the galaxy, in an average galaxy cluster among billions, a bad thing happened. If they NEED to explain the world they see around them in mythological terms, and pretend they are important to the universe, then fine. You can't FORCE them to grow up.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  20. bigwilliestyles

    So Bloomberg decided to keep some blow hard from hijacking the ceremony "in the name of God". Good for him. Can't you just see some loudmouth going over his allotted time, and making this statement: "I know I was only supposed to speak for 5 minutes, but when GOD takes over, all man can do is let him". Bloomberg is smarter than he looks.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:47 am |
    • The Guy

      I agree – never liked him much until he took this stand.... and maybe the cigarettes in public places.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:50 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
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.