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. Haime52

    Just include representative of every religion of those who died. That would not violate the establishment clause. those who might be offended would be offended no matter what, anyway. Some people just want to be offended so they feel like they have some power over others. The power to blame.

    August 27, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      How would you know that all were correctly represented? Most likely, atheists would be under-represented as it can be a "career limiting move" to let others know you disagree with the generally accepted, but incorrect, belief in sky daddies. All that aside, would you really be OK with atheists, muslims and/or "pick some other under-appreciated belief system(s)" being on stage?

      August 27, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I would not see a issue with other groups. There are enough inter denominational groups out there that are working well together so it wouldnot have a problem.

      August 28, 2011 at 1:41 am |
  2. Robert Sutherland

    @ GW.

    I'm very aware of the various descriptions of hell in the bible. There are however various styles of writing in the bible and you need to be very careful when translating imagery literally. The reason I chose the description, separation from God are twofold. One, it is not styled as imagery and two, it is undoubtably the description of most concern to a person of faith.

    August 27, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
    • GW

      I know many Christians, but none have ever actually admitted to picking and choosing, so your response is new to me.

      Look, the imagery, however you think it should be translated, paints a picture of a very bad place. The point wasn't lost in translation, because hell is described in several different books of the bible, and they all say the same essential thing–hell is a place of eternal suffering. Nowhere does scripture use lollipops and springtime to describe hell, and all the descriptions are in stark contrast to the descriptions of heaven.

      There should not be so much disagreement over what the bible says; it is the word of god, is it not?

      August 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • GW

      And another thing, you said that the only description we have is the one of eternal separation. Not true. Furthermore, nowhere in the bible does it say that hell is simply "eternal separation from god." This is a toned down description that caught on. It is a bit contradicting as well, since god is everywhere. Revelation 14 even says that "They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb." Notice how it doesn't say "in the presence of satan."

      Even if you go with the sugar-coated version, what does god stand for? Love, peace, happiness, and all things fluffy and good. Separation from that implies a very ugly existence. No matter how you look at it, hell is a terrible place that people go to for not believing it exists.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
  3. Robert Sutherland

    @ John Richardson

    As I said John, you have my admiration. I too enjoy and value my life in the here and now. It's encouraging that you haven't totally discounted an afterlife. For what its worth John the only description of hell we have in the Bible is eternal separation from God. To a believer thats profound, to a non believer it probably doesn't matter. In your words the universe owes us nothing but we do have free choice and as in all things in life choices have consequences.

    August 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • GW

      The bible says more about hell than it simply being a separation from god.

      Matthew 13:49-50 "This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

      Mark 9:43 "It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched—where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched (this is repeated several times)."

      Revelation 14:10 "...He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone..."

      Revelation 20:14-15 "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.[d] 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

      August 27, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      If god is all loving, all good and all just as Christians profess, how do you reconcile this with the fact, that there is a place called hell?

      How could an all good, all merciful, all just god, spend His time constructing such a place? Did he whistle while He worked?

      If god is all loving, all good, all merciful and all just...how do you reconcile this with the fact that god would burn humans for all eternity? What crime could justify such a punishment?

      Man lives a finite number of years. Only a finite number of "sins" could be committed in this finite time. How is it just to punish a finite number of sins with eternal agony?

      Christians also claim their god is all knowing (omniscient). If this is true, then He would know who will be saved and who will be damned, even before they are born. Yet, god lets them be born knowing their ultimate fate is eternal punishment. Seems wrong somehow. Maybe it's just that I am sane..
      Christians often prattle on about having a choice of accepting Christ or spending eternity in hell. This is not a choice. This is Vito Corleone making an offer that cannot be refused. Pfui!
      If you were trying to start a religion, as the New Testament authors were, wouldn't this be a good PowerPoint bullet? I mean it really couldn't hurt the membership roster, right?

      Join = Eternal Bliss

      Decline = Eternal Agony

      If a puppy peed on the floor, would you hold it over a burner, even for a second? I couldn't. Not a puppy and certainly not a human. I am more moral than your vile god.


      August 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  4. Robert Sutherland

    @ John Richarson

    By the way John, in your reply you never did answer the question I asked. Where would you turn to find peace and strength if an unimaginable tragedy struck you. If you've already had to deal with such a situation and have done so without help you have my admiration.

    August 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I've lost relatives and work in animal rescue, where I constantly face anxiety and sorrow. I don't resort to facile promises in ancient texts for the strength to persevere. I don't totally discount the possibility of an afterlife of some sort for both man and beast, but don't feel the universe owes me that comfort. I am glad for the love and life I experience here and now. And I for sure would take NO comfort in believing that an afterlife of eternal torment awaits ANYONE, and I do mean ANYONE. I can't imagine holding such a belief and worshipping the god that created such a monstrous world.

      August 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • why?

      Why does everyone blame God for the way the world is......If you read your Bible you would know it is not him and you would realize he will fix all this wrong.

      August 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      I don't re-read books of bad fiction – I throw them away so no Babbles in this hose. There is no evidence of a god, not even just one. *If* your god did exist, and it created everything, then it created evil too.

      August 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • i get it

      why?: "If you read your Bible..."

      It is not *my* Bible, anymore than it is *your* Quran, or *your* Thoreau. Calling it "Your* Bible is a subtle way of claiming efficacy for that book, and I'm a little tired of it.

      August 27, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
  5. Robert Sutherland

    @ John Richardson.

    Thank you for your compassion. My beliefs have nothing to do with arrogance. I simply relayed this young womans story as an example of how a very deep faith can give someone the strength to carry on. Hope, whether false or otherwise is better than a feeling of hopelessness when someones life has been all but destroyed.
    I'm not about to give theological lessons here other than to say that to expect God to intervene and prevent every tragedy that befalls man shows a complete lack of understanding of faith based teaching, and that includes the teachings of the Buddhist and Hindu faiths also.
    I'm waiting for a response from David Johnson which I will also reply to. No doubt you will react to that also in your normal compassionate manner.

    August 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I would never wish anyone to endure the loss of their children. Nothing, could be worse.

      A sp_oonful of god(s), helps the bad things go down, is true. Despots have made use of this many times.

      The fact that a belief in a god and an afterlife is comforting, does not prove that the god or the afterlife, actually exist. Have you heard the expression "Pie In The Sky"? "Opiate of the masses"?

      If you can convince me it is god's will, you can take away all the ent_itlements.

      Death isn't nearly as important, when you believe. This makes life of less value. I will see the people lost, again. Death isn't actually real... Let the kids play near water.

      Many Christians believe Christ will return soon. This belief apparently gives them comfort. It also may be a bad belief. If you truly believe Jesus is on his way, why worry about Global Warming? Or destroying mountains to get at the coal?

      If you believe Christ is on the first bus back to earth, you do dumb things, like not worrying about tomorrow.

      There are a number of prophesies about the 2nd coming. Horrible wars etc. Powerful beliefs can create self-fulfilling prophesies. All it takes is to get an insane Teabagger like Bachmann, being elected to a high office.

      There is no evidence to support a god, an afterlife or sanity in the Republican party. Faith without evidence is worthless. Even, if you find some comfort in the lie.

      When I was 5 I loved the idea that Santa would bring gifts to all the world's boys and girls. When I was 6, I put away childish notions. A god, is just Santa for the adults.

      “For me, it is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
      – Carl Sagan


      August 28, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  6. Robert Ray

    Not including clergy and prayer is a step in the right direction.There are those delusional,supersticious,psychotic belivers that think prayer and clergy have any control or meaning over anything.It is time to stop this 2000 year old fairy tale.

    August 27, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  7. Habemus Papam

    No formal prayer - while Earthquake/Hurricanes are showing us a very powerful sign at this particular time of the year!? None so blind as those that will not see.

    August 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • J.W

      The midwest had to deal with this heat wave. The east can deal with an earthquake and a hurricane i think

      August 27, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • AGuest9

      A powerful sign? That it's hurricane season and the east coast is a coastline on a large, thermally active ocean? Seismic activity is caused by earth's movements above a molten mantle. What, exactly, are you driving at?

      August 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • J.W

      I think we are seeing a global climate change. It is interesting the KS and OK did not have that many tornadoes this year, and the hurricane hit the northeast instead of the southeast.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • i get it


      Let he among you who hath not drowned a horse in sacrifice to Poisedon accept the blame for these disasters!

      August 27, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • i get it

      * Poseidon

      August 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
  8. Rainer Braendlein

    Imagine a young member of a Mexican drug gang, walking around in a hot desert of Mexico. Suddenly he had an apparition of the archangel Gabriel (Satan had changed into an angel of light). Gabriel tells Muxammad, the Americans are lousy infidels and either they would convert to Mexlam or they had to be killed.

    Muxammad is excited. He had ever thought about a way to unite Mexican gangs for big raids in the US borderland. Now he could tell his gang and the other gangs that the Americans would be apostates, which had corrupted the good old Aztec faith by Christianity. The archangel Gabriel had told him to force the Americans to convert. People, not wanting to convert should be slain.

    Muxammad's friends of his gang and friends of other gangs appreciate Muxammad's idea and as a side effect they could surely gain some booty.

    This is the history of Islam. Just replace Mexammad by Muhammad, Mexico by Arabia, America by Byzantium, Aztek faith by Abraham's faith, Mexlam by Islam.

    How many further years do we want to get fooled by a criminal doctrine?

    August 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "The archangel Gabriel had told him to force the Americans to convert. People, not wanting to convert should be slain."

      You mean the same as ... if you do not convert to Western ideals and systems of Government we send in the drones and Blackhawks. Or if you are Gay or a Minority you can not live in our community.? Or are we just talking about drug gangs and cartels claiming drug routes.

      Rainer, people will be "slain" over many things in this world. Each just as justifiable and stupid at the same time.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • JohnR

      Go, Mark, go!!! 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Rainer..its the story of every religion..no proof and visions. You see why it is so dangerous....I hope.

      August 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  9. John


    August 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
  10. herbert juarez

    I am trying to think of really good uses for live atheists

    August 27, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"I am trying to think of really good uses for live atheists"

      Umm... the "Love thy neighbor as thy loves thy self" ... So I guess maybe potential friends that just think differently. 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • herbert juarez

      I really don't know if atheists would be good to" love",they don't seem very lovable and I sure wouldn't expect reciprocity.I could try with a creature more cuddly, like say a rattlesnake.I,ve heard you can pet a rattlesnake if his tail is wagging.Or maybe bears, i could practice love on rattlesnakes and bears and then try an atheist,but would they be good for that? I don't think so.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • JohnR

      The gospel according to Herbert: Love your neighbor begrudgingly and only if that love is strictly reciprocated. Get it in writing. 😀

      August 27, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I really don't know if atheists would be good to" love",they don't seem very lovable and I sure wouldn't expect reciprocity.…..I don't think so.”

      They didn't think that Moses could part the Red Sea or that Jesus could raise the dead. Herbert, I do not know about cuddly, but if you are a person of Christian Faith then when you say that you do not think that you can obey God's order to “love as you love yourself”... then the failing of Faith or the weakness of your Faith is with you.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Don't pet the rattlesnake unless his tail is wagging

      August 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Don't pet the rattlesnake unless his tail is wagging"

      What commandment is that, or can you point to the scripture that declares that.

      Or are we talking the Book of Yosemite Sam.

      August 27, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Teachers, doctors, biologists, engineers, physicists, for starters. None of them need this nonsense so many seem to cling to like a liferaft. Open your mind and open a book, other than some several thousand year-old fairy tale about talking snakes, floods requiring more water than exists in the entire solar system to create, mythological heaven dwellers who stole men's wives, ful of numerology and suppossed "fulfilled prophesy". Oh, and let's not forget the murder and conspiracy regarding your "savior's" death and his brother's complicity, so he could have his ow church, sending peter to his death in Rome.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Fred1

      @ herbert Juarez: I think you should pet bears. God loves bears and sometimes shows his love through bears. Like in this verse
      And he (Elisha) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them." 2 Kings, 2:23-2

      August 27, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      remind me sometime to tell you what is really going on in the elisha story.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      be careful you don't get too serious.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      herbert.... the best use for a live atheist..is getting the truth.. allow them to help you. You seem agitated, which is understandable given the lack of evidence you have seen from your side. We are all the same herbert..it is just traditional thought that wants you to believe that atheists are horrible people...as if belief in a supernatural being makes any difference.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”it is just traditional thought that wants you to believe that atheists are horrible people...”

      DNA, you do a lot of time telling those who are faithful what they believe. This time you are telling this person that he was taought to believe Atheist are horrible people. Where are you getting this from? I hear some of my Black miliatant relatives say that all whites were taught from a early age that African Americans were horrible and not even real people. Are you so desperate to challenge someone of Faith that your best offense is to tell him or her what they believe?

      They this totally new concept... talk and then be open to listen/read without preconceptions.

      Allow us to help you to understand that there are those of Faith that are not horrible people. 🙂

      August 28, 2011 at 3:03 am |
  11. herbert juarez

    I am trying to think of good uses for dead atheists.
    I thought fertilizer,because of all the bs they spew,but i don't believe they'd be good fertilizer anyway
    There are not enough of them to stack and cover with earth to make a ski slope
    I thought book ends ,but that would only do for science texts ,and would be likely to stink up the library
    possibly they could be embalmed, posed and set up in museums across the world and billed as the missing link
    It is really hard to think of good uses,
    any suggestions out there?

    August 27, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • JohnR

      Ah, another loving Christian fantasizing about non-Christians being dead. Just another day in the glow of the love of Jesus, eh?

      August 27, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • herbert juarez

      read both posts ya moron

      August 27, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • herbert juarez

      recommended reading list
      bunny suicides
      101 things to do with a dead cat

      August 27, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Colin

      Hey Herbert. A friend of mine works at NASA. He was telling me how they have some really cool new theories on star formation and the big bang. They are based on ctting edge technology and the latest images from the Hubble Telescope.

      I told him, however, that Genesis is literally true and that the images from Hubble must be wrong and that the astronomers at NASA are all wrong and that the Bible is correct.

      Thanks for pointing that out to us. Now that we know Adam and Eve is actually true, we can stop investigating galactic formation and go home.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Hey Herbert. A friend of mine works at NASA. "

      Hey, I heard they are out of the space business these days. Then again, unless you count putting tyco remote control cars on Mars... they have been out of the space business since December 7, 1972. 🙁

      August 27, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • herbert juarez

      hey colin how do you see the stars with your head so far up your colon?

      August 27, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • JohnR

      Sure, HJ. And if some atheist posted something about uses for dead Christians, all the the Christians here would have a good chuckle and move on. You bet. Oh, and in your post on uses for live atheists, I see you can't think of anything. Considering that some of the most amazingly productive people in history have been atheists and agnostics, you might want to try a little harder.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • herbert juarez

      Can't speak for all and don't intend to.Are all atheists a stick in the mud like you ?As to good uses ...the majority of history disagrees with your opinion,simply because of percentages.Atheism is by its very definition an extreme minority among peoples.There simply have not been enough of them to be a serious contributing factor to the progress of mankind.Granted even a blind squirrel gets an acorn once in a while.

      August 27, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • JohnR

      You consider stuff written thousands of years ago the inerrant truth and you call others stuck in the mud?

      August 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      Let me think, compare the excellent literature of the Holy Bible to the stick in the mud mentality of john r?Decisions ,decisions?Let me think, I believe I'll choose Bible, sorry you lose.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • JohnR

      Hate to break your heart, kid. But being rejected by you doesn't exactly break mine! 😀

      August 27, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      well john r it's me and a little more than 99.9%of this worlds population.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • JohnR

      99.9% of the world doesn't know me well enough even to have a va-gue opinion of me, Herbert. But hey, it's been real conversing with you!

      August 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • HotAirAce


      I haven't seen your proof that your virgin Mary wasn't an adulterous wh<b<ore – when can we expect it?

      The Babble is merely a piece of poorly wriitten fiction and every day more people realize this. You can lie all you want, but the number of "nones" (non-believers including atheists) is growing much faster than believers.

      If you truly believe in The Babble, you are mentally ill – please seek help.

      August 27, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • AGuest9

      herbert, I guess you never read that book that you chastize everyone else for not accepting as truth. Right in the third chapter of the first book it says "Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return." (Genesis 3:19) So, there is your answer, from your own "authority".

      August 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      herbert. ..what did the bible teach humanity that it did not already know? As it was written by men it could not contain anything that was unknown at the time..

      August 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Fred1

      I tell ya Herbert, you are a fine example of Christians and Christian thinking. You remind me so much of the Christians I grew up with and why I left the church.

      August 27, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @fred1 you oughtta go back fred ,better than where you're at now.read the punch lines

      August 27, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    We should change the name of the Muslim belief from Islam to 9/11-belief.


    Terror and aggressive war are not a side issue of Islam, but belong to the core tenets of Islam. Thus, 9/11 was an ordinary act of Islamic life of faith. The Al-Quaida fighters, which destroyed the Twin Towers were exemplary Muslims, according to the doctrine of Muhammad. Assumed, Muhammad would still be alive, he would praise the 9/11 terrorists for their deeds.

    We should stop to distinguish between Islam and Islamists. That is a nonsense. Terror belongs to Islam. Terror is natural for the Islam. An so-called Islamist is a model Muslim in Muhammad's eyes.

    Although the Islamíc beast still tortures the mankind, a new beast, which is even more dangerous, emerges:

    Some decades ago it was not thinkable that people protest against the "Holy Father" anywhere. Now, even in Spain, which is actually an arch-Catholic country people protest against the Pope. Surveys show that Spain becomes more and more a profane country (both the government and the population). September the Pope will come to Germany. Yet now people have announced to protest against him.

    At the one hand I am glad that the wh-ore (Roman Catholic Church) declines, on the other hand I suppose that with decreasing influence of the wh-ore, the influence of the Beast will increase.

    What is the Beast?

    The Beast is a community of absolutely profane or godless states. This community, led by the Wicked or Arch-Blasphemer, will finally worship the Wicked instead of God. The Beast will fully reveal the depravity of the human flesh, which is not damped down by faith. The inhabitants of the community of the Beast will indeed behave like little beasts. They will act according to their basest instincts like their ruler the Arch-Blasphemer.

    Assumed, I would claim this solely on the basis of biblical prophecy, one could question my statement. But it is not only the Bible, but the ongoing societal development, which confirms my statement.

    How can we escape the Beast and the Arch-Blasphemer?

    Come under the shelter of Kyrios Jesus! He is Lord of all Lords and King of all Kings. He will finally kill the Blasphemer.

    Jesus Christ has borne your sins on the cross, in order to set you free for a righteous life. He can set you free for a life of Christian love. God is love.

    Mark 16: 15-16: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

    "shall be saved" doesn't mean a cost-free ticket to heaven, but cost-free power for living a righteous life in love.

    Believe in Christ and get born by water an Spirit!

    August 27, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  13. Robert Sutherland

    @ John Richardson.

    Considering the number of people who have been making negative comments regarding faith on this blog, I would have thought the point of my posting was blatantly obvious.

    August 27, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • JohnR

      Well, I figured I'd offer you a chance to redeem yourself and you booted it.

      August 27, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  14. Robert Sutherland

    @ David Johnson

    You can read a comment of mine on the previous page. You say we have drank the Kool Aid and your trying to reach fence sitters before they drink.
    Read my previous comment carefully and please explain why you would want to dissuade the young woman I mention from her faith or anyone else from becoming a part of the same faith, unless of course you know of something equally powerful and able to carry someone through such a tragedy.
    In Australia right at this moment there's another Samoan man who has just lost his wife and all five of his children in a dreadful house fire. You may have read of this awful tragedy during the last week. Once again, the Samoan community and their incredibly deep faith are sustaining them, and in this poor mans case, will continue to do so for the rest of his life.
    Please read my previous comment regarding the young woman who lost her children and consider her, as well as this man, when you consider your powerful life sustaining answer.

    August 27, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • John Richardson

      What is the point of this post, Sutherland?

      August 27, 2011 at 5:36 am |
    • The Lambly Winged Lion of The Gods Does Roar

      John Richardson typed to Robert S.'s post stating, "What is the point of this post, Sutherland?"

      What John is the point of your posting to point rather aimlessly the point of R Southerland's post. Pointed positives? The lean
      issues of pointedness denutes the denutterer while scholasticisms stoneages are unmoved. Keep the rockface and clench ones' hardening fistuals of ma.g.nana.mous.ity in the foreverness of Time's egoisms cloistered and resolute. OK? 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 7:28 am |
    • Friend

      @Sutherland, That is a very good example about God and Hope.
      Man cannot live in society without Hope.
      Hope one day this woman and the Samoan will be reunited with their loved one for eternity.

      August 27, 2011 at 9:03 am |
    • JohnR

      You can make up whatever hopes you want. I hope Hurricane Irene is downgraded to a light drizzle with 5mph breezes before she hits NJ. Shoud I put faith in that hope?

      August 27, 2011 at 9:07 am |
    • David Johnson

      I will most certainly read your comment and will respond.

      I have an eye appointment this morning, so I will respond sometime this evening.

      This for now:
      Consider, that what you offer in your straw man arguments, is false hope.


      August 27, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • herbert juarez

      there are none so blind as him who will not see
      typical response will be
      an unsubstantiated lie
      a couple of opinions or lies stated as facts
      a big drum roll detached from the lengthy previous post that ends with the same improbable conclusion

      August 27, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      lambly...you really must have issues getting the right food in restaurants....

      August 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Fred1

      Heroin could do the same. Does that mean it’s good?

      August 27, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
  15. The Original

    There were a lot of HappyMeal fakes in the previous pages. Atheists lie, cheat and disguise regularly.

    August 27, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I hope that you are being sarcastic, but in case your are not, please provide proof that it was an atheist pretending to be Happy Meal. And while you're fabricating proof, you may as well make the case for god and and your tribal sky daddy.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • The Original

      @Hot-, if it's not atheist/s, who'd do such evil? And if God is your Sky Daddy, honor Him, you stupid rebelious American.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:42 am |
    • Martin T

      Of course Christians NEVER lie, cheat, or steal... go they? Idiot post.....

      August 27, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • The Original

      Christians strive for truth and die for it. Even if someone makes mistakes, we have the Bible to come back to. Atheists only need one stupid slogan to conduct the most wicked atrocities. There is no moral standard for them except for a borrowd-from-Christianity but temporary one or their own filthy selves. A huge difference.

      August 27, 2011 at 7:20 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @The Original

      You are wrong on several fronts:

      – no proof re: your claims about atheists
      – no proof re: god, any god
      – I'm not American

      I wonder if The Original isn't the new HeavenScent, Adelina, Faith... – they certianly have similar cognitive abilities.

      August 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Fred1

      @ The Original: Yes, like the so many of the good Christian Hutu’s in Raowanda that have been imprisoned for slaughtering there Tutu Christian brothers in cold blood. Wasn’t there a christain Hutu preacher who offered sanctuary to Tutus in his church and then had his Christian Hutu friends lock them inside and burned the church down? Perhaps he was showing his Christian love by helping his brothers on their way to heaven?

      August 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
  16. CrystalRiver

    This ceremony was canceled or postponed.

    August 27, 2011 at 12:46 am |
  17. David Johnson

    @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    You said: "Good grief. Why would anyone who reads these boards have the slightest use for religion?"

    That is pretty much the reason for posting comments on these blogs. We exchange with believers, but we aren't going to convince them that their god is fantasy. They, for the most part, have drank the Kool Aid. We show the holes in the believer's beliefs, in hopes of making any fence sitters think before they drink.

    It is especially important to challenge the "preachers" who join the blog. They want everyone to believe they have all the answers and are here to save the world. It is fun to show, that they have no special insight. No evidence.


    August 27, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      That is pretty much the reason for posting comments on these blogs. We exchange with non-believers, but we … have hope and Faith that we will convince them that God is righteous, forgiving and loves them. 🙂

      Many of us Faithful face the Fundamentalist Atheist and when we do not bend or break, this blog shows what happens when a Atheist has a total meltdown. The name calling and the “drink the Koolaid”, “Brainwashed” and other terms flow easily out of their hearts.

      For me it is to show that there is a middle way of peace and tolerance. To ones like my friend David, anyone that is not a fervent holder of Atheist belief is deranged or someone to be feared. This includes those on the fence as well as those that find peace with their Atheist and Faithful neighbors. David and the Pat Roberston 700 club types only have the desire to separate, than to come together.

      So, as long as David and others like him, and Naomi are here, then someone has to carry the banner for tolerance and coexistence.


      August 27, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • John Richardson

      The fact that so many Christians here, and not just people like Naomi, consider it a scandal that they for once can't hijack a public event and turn it into a Christians worship service shows how laughable it is to think that it is atheists who need lessons on tolerance and co-existence.

      August 27, 2011 at 5:41 am |
    • Martin T

      @ Mark, good luck on that one my friend... converting this atheist isn't likely.

      August 27, 2011 at 6:49 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”@ Mark, good luck on that one my friend... converting this Atheist isn't likely.”

      I do not know, many find their way to Christ and it happens often. Heck, with Mormonism and Islam catching up, conversions are and have always been happening.

      Like I said, “but we … have hope and Faith that we will convince them that God is righteous, forgiving and loves them.”


      August 27, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Reality

      o http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html
      oReligion ........................... Adherents
      Christianity.......................... 2.1 billion (due to high birth rates until recently)
      Islam ...................................1.5 billion (due to high birth rates)
      Irreligious/agnostic/atheism 1.1 billion (due to rational thinking)
      Hinduism ................................900 million
      Chinese traditional religion 394 million
      Buddhism 376 million
      Animist religions 300 million
      African traditional/diasporic religions 100 million
      Sikhism 23 million
      Juche 19 million
      Spiritism 15 million
      Judaism 14 million
      Baha'i 7 million
      Jainism 4.2 million
      Shinto 4 million
      Cao Dai 4 million
      Zoroastrianism 2.6 million
      Tenrikyo 2 million
      Neo-Paganism 1 million
      Unitarian Universalism 800,000
      Rastafari Movement 600,000

      August 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Mark. there is no such thing as fundamentalist atheist..we have no book to follow, or doctrine to believe to be part of the club. We just do not believe in a god until you produce proof, which you cannot. It is natural that you say you stand firm in the face of criticism you really have no choice.. you cannot forward any evidence.. so to to remain ignorant of facts is a fall back position. We see that with evolution...I do not dislike religious folks at all I find them for the most part pleasant, and so are most atheists.. The biggest issue you have is with the gods you have each one wants its believers to advance the cause, so they believe..society is at risk and its time to put reason ahead of myth.. thats all we are asking.

      August 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • i get it

      After a strict Catholic education and being taught that atheists were evil, complete with invisible horns and a tail, I met my first real, live atheist when I was around 17. He was the son of the owner at my job. He was a great guy, and he would gently debate religion with the predominately Christian staff on occasion. I was firm in my faith and had lots of parries for his assertions. Many years later, however, things that he said began to ring more and more true. Thanks, Chuck, for helping me to begin the journey to realism.

      August 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"Mark. there is no such thing as fundamentalist atheist..we have no book to follow, or doctrine to believe to be part of the club. "

      The books are plentiful as when you had Atheist a week ago quoting ones such as Dawkins and other Atheist leaning authors. The arguments always sounded so familier to when some Christians quoted a scripture. The doctrine is very simply doubt or outright denial. The tag fundamentalist is often given to extremist on the Christian side when we have Atheist that are open and tolerant enough to see a difference in Christians and not have the overiding desire to lump us all together as one.

      After a year here and many respectful exchanges with some Atheist, more and more we see that just as with the Faiths there are Atheist that are extreme with their Atheistic beliefs. The term applies to these types of Atheist as well. I am sorry that it makes you uncomfortable.

      >>"The biggest issue you have is with the Gods you have each one wants its believers to advance the cause,.."

      This is where blogs like this might be able to help confused ones such as yourself. I have heard some Atheist describe being a Christian as spending every day, every sermon on how to constrain and/or destroy those who are different or believe different. While I can not speak to all other churches on Sunday mornings, but I have been to a bunch and this "biggest issue" is not worrying about the Islamic or Hindu temple opening up down the block. With the compassion that many of the Faiths show you are finding more and more interdenominational groups and settings.

      August 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Oh, great! Who mentioned the Dawkins book in public? You can't tell THEM about IT!!!! Whoever did it, send your secret decoder ring back, RIGHT THIS INSTANT!

      Books and authors do not an atheist make. You pretty much know that the bible is a bunch of made-up hooey when you are old enough to say "REALLY???" Some of us for reasons of family or community slogged along every Sunday morning, but when your heart's not in it, it's not in it. For me, 9/11 was the breaking point. Not only did I see Muslims killing thousands of innocent people right in front of me (I was on the Mall outside the White House that morning), but I saw the reaction from so-called Christians, calling for retaliation. Then I watched friends go off to war – a Crusade – led by a fundamentalist stooge that had no business being in the White House. That clinched it for me. Religion is hate. It is hate of those "not like us".

      Franklin, Jefferson, Thoreau, Sanger, Rand, Huxley, Bradbury, Orwell, Nietzche, Sun Tzu, Einstein, Feynman and, yes, Dawkins are in the philosophy section of my library. There are also books by Pope John Paul, II, as well as comparative religious texts, the latter for reference in debates.

      August 27, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Mark,,sorry you are incorrect.. there are books written about many subjects.. Richard Dawkins book discuss the non existence of god and evolution and other facts, but in no way is it any form of fundamentalism or a book that any atheist has to read. There are many other books out there that others may prefer... personal choice you see. In order to be a member of your church you need to have a group think and have certain like or dislike of other people or beliefs.. As an atheist, as I have mentioned, I simply do not believe in a god.. any of them...to be fundamental pertains to following the fundamentals of a system .. such as "biblical teachings" There is no atheist" bible" and I have no idea nor does it matter to me what other atheists on this site "believe" we are only united in our understanding of reality.... beyond that.. they may think anything.

      August 28, 2011 at 1:01 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Books and authors do not an atheist make. “

      Why then are there Atheist that report that there is this book or that which all of us Faithful should read to change our entire view of life and Faith? The interesting thing is that I believe you when you say that your turning point was 9/11. For some who are of the Faithful, 9-11 was their turning point. You mentioned the day on the National Mall, well I remember the service that was held at the National Cathedral and I remember all the different Faiths standing together.

      It is again, which image of Faith and Religion do you take away from events such as 9/11? Some of Faith will take the positive image and some not of Faith might feel better to take away the negative image.

      >>>”led by a fundamentalist stooge that had no business being in the White House. That clinched it for me. Religion is hate”

      So... what does that make Obama who … still has troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Gitmo still open holding prisoners indefinitely ...just like GW.Bush. Oh, and now we have American resources in Libya. So I guess Obama is a stooge+1 in your book. 🙁

      August 28, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      DNA – , the “group think” of Atheist is just as set or more set than those of the Faithful. You see, you can be Muslim and the Koran instructs them to respect, acknowledge and in some strange way protect those of “The Book”. You have Muslim and Jews having more of a relationship than the Bin Ladens and the media wish you to know they have. Christians and Jews have similar relationships.

      Tell me, do you see this respect between Atheist and any one else. Heck I have seen more than a few Atheist rip apart the occasional Agnostic just because they dare to fully detach from their openness that there might be a God.

      Now my church the “group think” is that we are all pretty messed up and that we put our Faith in God to forgive us of our sins. Your comments are the same as a few Atheist that have this belief that Christian churches have sermons every Sunday where we preach hatred of other groups and Faiths. I have visited quite a few churches and temples in my life, even a Gay and Lesbian church, but I can not remember any sermons like you mention. What denomination(s) did you experience this?

      >>>”As an atheist, as I have mentioned, I simply do not believe in a god.. any of them...to be fundamental pertains to following the fundamentals of a system .. “

      So, since pretty much all Atheist hold the same belief then is that or is that not the “group think”, that you previously stated pertains to those of Faith.. or at least at my church? Here is the question to you. I can still be a Christian and have great relationships with other Faiths. I can even find peace with atheist.

      Can you do the same. Now the 700 Club crowd is not that open, they live to tell others who are not Christians, openly, that they are wrong. They can call those not Christians, that they are silly for their different or lack of Faith. You have some Atheist that share this type of relationship to those that are of Faith. The hostile confrontationalist or for a better words … they are Fundamentalist pure and simple. They do not believe in God and that is the total end of their story.

      So, folks like yourself, Naomi and Pat Robertson, I feel are cut from the same cloth.

      "There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God. I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic. We believe our work should be our example to people. We have among us 475 souls – 30 families are Catholics and the rest are all Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs—all different religions. But they all come to our prayers." Mother Teresa.

      I will follow her example, DNA. 🙂

      August 28, 2011 at 2:29 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Mark from Middle River

      You said: "So, as long as David and others like him, and Naomi are here, then someone has to carry the banner for tolerance and coexistence."

      Well, thank the the non-existent god that we have you to fill the blog's Moral Compass position.


      August 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  18. Reality

    A sign to be posted on all mosque doors:



    August 27, 2011 at 12:20 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      I pray to God .... wait.. I pray to Allah ... that you have a good pair of running shoes and can move your legs rapidly 🙂

      August 27, 2011 at 3:13 am |
  19. Colin

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

    In other news, nobody will be appealing to the other Bronze Age sky gods (Baal, Apollo, Zeus) either.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Good grief. Why would anyone who reads these boards have the slightest use for religion?

    August 26, 2011 at 10:47 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.