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. A preacher

    I am deeply hurt and dissapointed by this decision. I will never forget September 11, 2001. It was a day that will be etched in the minds and hearts of people all over the world. Everyone was praying and calling on the preachers, teachers, prayer warriors, and pastors for help, answers, and comfort from God's word. The people of God came together no matter what the personal beliefs and differnces were. It hutrs me to think that one person could decide that we do not matter on this day of remembrance. I know that we will be there praying, remembering, and bringing comfort, whether we are invited to participate or not.

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

      I think they are cutting out all religions to make sure it isn't noticed that who they are REALLY excluding is any Muslim clerics.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Habib

      YES muslim yelling out and scream like they had just win a battle that day. Join us in http://www.faithfreedom.org/ to crusade againts Muslim and Atheist.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • T. Storm

      Also missing for the ceremony are the true heros of that day, the police (excep those for security), firefighters, EMT's & othe public servents who dropped what they were doing that day to assist. Why? the expaination says, "Because there is no room". When you really look at it, who will be there? The city & state's elite..... "Goodness,... we can't mingle with the common folk. That would be just so tacky. Why not just keep it all to ourselves? Parade around a little, like we really care,..."

      August 25, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
    • i wonder

      Yep, if you kids can't play nice with your imaginary superheroes, responsible people will need to have you keep them in your rooms.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Prefabfan

      Selfish. You are trying to take AN AMERICAN tragedy and to use for your particular religious purposes. No one is excluding you, stop whining you are a victim. You are just not being allowed to make this into a "my religsion is the right one and yours is wrong" contest. Can't you be JUST AN AMERICAN without an agenda, even on 911?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Mike

      Hey A preacher...

      I was not praying to anyone or anything... so your claim that "everyone was praying" is incorrect in at least one case... and is most likely incorrect in many others.

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

      A preacher wrote: "Everyone was praying..."

      Especially Mohamed Atta, Waleed al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri, Abdulaziz al-Omari, Satam al-Suqami, Marwan al-Shehhi, Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al-Shehri, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hani Hanjour, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Salem al-Hazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Ahmed al-Nami, Saeed al-Ghamdi, and a bunch of their co-conspiritors and supporters...

      August 26, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  2. mm

    I have never heard of a memorial without some kind of prayer or reflecting! Emmmm! The families who believe in prayer and will be attending the ceremony will certainly feel that this is not how they would like to remember their loved ones. We don't need religion but we do need God!

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

      Which "god" did you have in mind? There have been so many during mankind's history...

      August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  3. JoAnn

    I look at all of the mislead comments against God and religion and laugh. It doesn't matter how you feel atheists, GOD will be there at the Memorial. As he was with all of those souls that horrible day. In God We Trust

    August 25, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • AMEN!

      Yes, we will JoAnn! God's love cannot be quenched!!!! We were there in prayer on that dreadful day and we will be there on this day of remembrance. God bless the families that will never be the same again, bring them comfort and joy in the midst of their grief.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Where was god when the planes were flying into the towers? Why didn't he/she prevent this from happening?
      The mayors decision is the logical choice in a very touchy situation...the only way to keep everyone satisfied.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Which god did you have in mind? The one prayed-to by Mohamed Atta, Waleed al-Shehri, Wail al-Shehri, Abdulaziz al-Omari, Satam al-Suqami, Marwan al-Shehhi, Fayez Banihammad, Mohand al-Shehri, Hamza al-Ghamdi, Ahmed al-Ghamdi, Hani Hanjour, Khalid al-Mihdhar, Majed Moqed, Nawaf al-Hazmi, Salem al-Hazmi, Ziad Jarrah, Ahmed al-Haznawi, Ahmed al-Nami and Saeed al-Ghamdi?

      August 26, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • LinCA


      You said "Where was god when the planes were flying into the towers?".
      According to some, in the co-pilot seat.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  4. David M

    This is not shocking news. Down through the ages, people have been trying to bury God, but He just keeps showing up. Maybe He's not so dead after all.

    This 'political correctness' is killing us. Don't want to "offend" anyone. Are people so fragile that someone praying in public sends them running to the local mental health office? If you think it's a bunch of nonsense, then why do you care?

    August 25, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • fred

      Me thinks hizzonor better start praying himself. I can see his vacant mayor chair in the future. New Yorkers are going to remember this.

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

      Nobody said you can't pray in public (except for the bible but you people don't care about that part) In fact it said there will be SIX moments of silence for people who wish to use it to pray or just reflect. What they aren't allowing is one person of one faith leading everyone there in prayer that not everyone wishes to participate in due to different beliefs. What if the person they chose was a muslim, just for arguments sake, and that person led a prayer. Would you want to be a part of it? I bet your opinion would change very quickly. This way EVERYONE gets to pray or not pray as they wish.

      August 27, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  5. Terik Ororke

    The Mayor of New York has to ralize that while his city may have been attacked, 911 was an attack on all America. He should not have the last say about memorials and the like...it is not just a New York City event.....he is showing great disrespect...but then what would you expect from arrogance?

    August 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
    • mb2010a

      Spoken like a true christian...my god is bigger than your god. Give me a break...

      August 26, 2011 at 6:22 am |
  6. Matthew Kilburn

    Atheists get to practice their "beliefs" to their full extent every moment of every day at anytime.

    Its shameful that they would try to prevent the religious from doing the same.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Jan

      Enough with cramming your mythological beliefs down the rest of our throats. Worship your invisible character in the sky privately - that is, in your own head..

      August 25, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Roger

      Atheists had nothing to do with this very reasonable decision to limit the ceremony to readings and statements by the survivor families. If any one of them wish to say something spiritual they are perfectly welcome to do so. But no religions "leader" can represent the full breadth of beliefs held by those affected by the tragedy.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
    • RobinMO

      The religious get to practice their "beliefs" every minute of everday, which is fine with me as long as they don't force them on me. I feel sorry for those religious folks whose faith is so weak that it is threatened by the reasonable decision made by the mayor. If one leader of a religion participated in the 9/11 ceremony there would be 200 others demanding that their religion be represented. Let's get real folks.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
  7. HawkingROLFcopter

    Here is a question for all those smart atheists that have PhDs in science and math.
    -Why are there more atheists on the religion forums than tech/science forms?

    August 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Roger

      Fist of all atheism has nothing whatsoever to do with technology and science. Secondly, atheists have just as much of a position to defend within religion forums as anyone else.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • mindpastnoon

      You have a problem with PHD's science and math? Seriously?

      August 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  8. William Neate

    9/11 was a tragic day for so many people. It is not a day about religion, but rather a day of remembering those who died and being supportive of their families. Everyone has a right to privately express that in any way they wish. I am sure that a great many people with varying religious beliefs, or not, participate in the ceremony.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
  9. Joe in Pittsburgh

    Religious intolerance is one of the main reasons why 9/11 happened.

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

      It's tolerated when it's not thrown in everyone else's faces. Invisible Gods should be worshipped privately.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
    • Denise

      Uh, not really.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
  10. Indyman

    Definition of a Christian: God fearing; Republican; hates gays; bigot; believes in creationism; doesn't understand science, wants the poor to suffer; hates social programs to help the needy. Examples: Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman, Sean Hannity, Rick Perry, Lucifer.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Ph.D. from M.I.T.

      You got the so-called Republican Christians perfectly. I will tell you that I do know Christians that understand and PRACTICE the lesson from Matthew 25:40. I do not understand how anyone can want to cut social welfare programs and yet refuse to undo the tax cuts to the wealthy from the last 50 years can call themselves a Christian.

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

      Your post was more 'hateful' than almost anything I've read in the past year. By your definition, you must be a republican – or Lucifer.

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

      Definition of Indyman: One who bought the myth that "christianity" and "religious right" are the same thing. I mean really...Lucifer's a christian?....come on now.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • David M

      So how do you explain Sen. Byrd, who served the people of West Virginia for so many years? He was a liberal Democrat, AND a devout Christian. Believe it or not, there are quite a few Democrats in Congress who are Christians. So be careful what size brush you paint with.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • Dave

      Hey PhD, Indyman was calling ALL Christians republicans.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Earl Weaver

      Have you been stupid long, or were you born that way?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Really???

      Bigoted slightly hmmmm!

      August 25, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  11. Paul P

    Religion was part of the root that motivated those who carried out the barbaric acts of that day. Perhaps it's fitting to step back and remove it from the commemorative ceremonies.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Earl Weaver

      Nah, it's just that the liberal left is affraid of religion and precieve it as some sort of threat. Otherwise, they would simply just ignore it.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm |
    • Roger

      Religion is indeed a threat to all who do not share the particular belief when those beliefs are used as the basis for governmental rules that apply to all. Keeping theology out of government is a very reasonable goal for atheists and theists alike.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Really???

      No, the correct response was (and is) a gathering of tolerant coexisting clergy showing that religious hatred cannot triumph.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • questionable

      would simply like to point out that our nations most bloodiest wars have never been fought over religion, and that so far (after reading most religious texts) I have only found that the Quran is the only one that ever uses war as a solution to a problem with people that don't follow their religion (although most muslims are very nice people and great friends). The problem is not with no clerics or religious leaders being present in my eyes, but the fact that the people being honored had no choice in the matter. I think they should've been asked wether they would've preferred a religious portion to be added to the ceremony, then the majority wins. The problem in my eyes isn't with people fighting, it's with people who simply can't let people live how they choose, and respect that (just look at all the comments stating worship alone in your mind, and that the atheists are at fault) yet both sides here claim to be respectful? Telling someone that they are going to hell all day won't win them over to Christ and yelling at someone to stop worshiping the way they choose to only leads to people who get angry with people who say that). Lead with how you live, not how you speak.

      August 30, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  12. frenchie

    Why can't people just pray by themselves? Why does it have to be a prayer led by a priest? That cheapens America. We have many different people who were affected by 9/11, not all of them christian. Why can't people simply use the moments of silence to say a PERSONAL and PRIVATE prayer? Do we really have to shove religion in everyone's face?

    August 25, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • David M

      No one is shoving anything in anyone's face. It's about the right to express your religious beliefs. Are you so fragile that the mere thought of someone praying pushes you over the edge? You are the definition of intolerant.

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

      Please explain how I am intolerant. I am not "pushing" atheism. People have every right to pray if the choose to, I am merely asking as to why they can't do it during the moments of silence. Perhaps you are the intolerant one, since you are so fragile that you can't stand not having your religion placed upon a pedestal.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Answer

      Bringing in any religious figure to speak is folly.

      Everybody there will paint their own religion – the first to speak – as more glorious than later speakers. Therefore cheapens the
      ceremony. This is the humanity of humans pushing for the front and centre to promote his or her own sectarian view.

      Disallowing such coy nuisances is the right thing to do.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  13. Joe

    Yeah religious leaders are all up in arms b/c this is a great opportunity for them to advertise their business and bring more converts (and their money) into their flocks.

    And all the people who think this is terrible, keep in mind that there are hundreds of religions/sects in the world...since this is America and not some theocracy like they have in the Middle East, either you accommodate every religion (which would be ridiculous) or none. Our founding fathers knew that America would be a pluralistic society made of believers and non-believers and they had the forethought to keep church and state separate. That's what makes America better than a country like Saudi Arabia. If you want a religious run country you should move to the Middle East

    August 25, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  14. Matthew Kilburn

    Atheists should be allowed to speak the moment they can put together a coherent explanation or proposal to tell us where we all came from...as it is, the best they can offer is halfway-formulated ideas about star dust and cosmic coincidences and everything just happening without any direction or intelligence or anything of the sort.

    It just doesn't fit – even an accident requires some kind of intent. How anyone can believe that a complex, intricate, functioning universe is the result of anything other than thoughtful creation is beyond me.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • frenchie

      Ok, so on that note then, prove to me (beyond all reasonable doubt) that there is a god. Don't call out atheists on not giving "enough proof" for you, when you can't explain to me if there is a god. No one knows for sure, and it can't be proven. So let's just agree to disagree. I'll leave you to your beliefs, and you stop trying to tell me how to live my life.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • David M

      You're expecting too much. Even Richard Dawkins, who is a scary smart physicist, stated the aliens came to earth in space ships and that's how life showed up here. He will believe some outlandish theory like that rather than agree there is a remote possibility that just maybe it came from God after all. It's almost like the smarter some people are, the dumber they are.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      You made an interesting point, "how could anyone think that a complex, intricate, functioning universe is the result of anything other than thoughtful creation is beyond me". But wait doesn't the Idea of God invalidate that statement, unless you can tell me who or what created a complex, intricate, functioning God?

      August 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • David M

      Hold in Frenchie....why do I have to prove God exists? Why don't you have to prove He does not exist? You have your belief and I have mine, and both of them are based on some amount of faith.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Matthew Kilburn

      I don't pretend to be able to "prove" a God – only that Atheists are being incredibly rich trying to stifle religious expression when they can't offer any real alternative.

      Don't give me hypotheticals about teapots on Mars either – the existence of God isn't such an irrelevancy. We KNOW creation exists. So, either it was created by an intelligent being (unproven, but not actually against any scientific law or idea), or everything in the natural world burst suddenly and randomly into existence from nothing (an idea which even the bests scientists haven't wrapped themselves around).

      I'm amused – and enraged – by how much atheists are bothered by people "wasting their time praying to a fairy tale"

      August 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
    • Desmodromic

      Asserting that accidents require intent leads me to conclude you don't know the meaning of the word. In an infinite universe the possibility of ANYTHING happening is certain, that's the very nature of infinity. The moment you grasp that everything you know is nothing more than the tiniest speck of the tiniest speck in a tiny corner of an incomprehensibly big galaxy (of which there are infinite number) is the moment you can see with absolute clarity that what makes no sense is the arrogant belief that a deity picked this and only this microscopic rock on which to wield an absolute power.

      It's fear and ignorance that leads to the need for an explanation of everything and the attribution of the unknown to the supernatural. What's so scary about "we don't know, can't yet know" ? You say there must be a plan not because you know this to be the case, but because the potential that there simply isn't one is terrifying. Some of us shrug and accept that reality is enough, that some things remain beyond our knowledge and that we are indeed giving one existence that is certain and should live accordingly.

      Consider that not that long ago man was certain, utterly sure, that lightning was a creation of deities living in the clouds. We now know it's nothing more than the discharge of static electricity. They were as certain as you of their faith...because in the absence of knowledge faith is required to accept the absurd.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Can any of you prove that Zeus does not exist? By your own logic you are fools not to believe Zeus exist (because you can not prove otherwise). I admit a silly proposition but that is the one you believers are taking

      August 25, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Denise

      You guys are all wrong. The Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. Argh, me matey!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
    • Answer

      In your worldview Matthew you want only a christian to be able to speak.

      As a person I will not allow that bigot voice of yours to carry any weight. Let me ask you: Who should be the first to speak in such an event honoring the fallen?

      Let me guess, it would do you proudly to suggest that a Christian will have that honour. I always know that will be your response. Putting on your best view – once again – through the bigots own lips "I will preach my own as the best. All the rest of you are lowly – and going to hell."

      See this is the reason you should shut up.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Perhaps

      @Desmodromic Very well said Desmodromic. I have but one tiny correction to make and that is to your last line, I would say that faith is not required to accept the absurd but it IS required to embrace the unbelievable. It would seem that you don't care much for a belief in God, but I suspect that God knows how difficult it is for us to believe in Him truly. What I mean is that it is simple to believe in God out of fear or desperation, yet easy to disbelieve what we do not understand, but at the same time I would say that it is incredibly difficult to believe in God with no ulterior motives attached. That is to say with no fear of punishment, desperation for aid or hope for reward. I think that it takes great courage, tenacity, curiosity and a strong desire to know the truth for us to "believe" in God, for no reason other than to discover for ourselves if there is any truth in God. I wonder how many people out there genuinely pursue knowledge of God to see for themselves if any truth at all lies behind that belief. Pursuing God to prove or disprove Him is pointless to me, but pursuing a knowledge of this possible God so that you KNOW for yourself if there is any basis for it in reality takes a very special person. My parting words are this: dismissing God ignorantly is foolish, accepting Him because the church or some book says so is doubly foolish but trying to discover what is the truth for ourselves is both difficult and wise. We may be surprised with what we find :). Pleasant journeys folks!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:11 am |
  15. David M

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

    Yeah, let's keep the religious community away because we certainly would not want to give the impression that congress is establishing a religion, now would we? I have become very weary of people, on one hand, saying "our prayers go out for the family of whomever", and then on the other hand say we're not allowing religious participation in a ceremony. Regardless of who you think you are praying to, prayer itself is a religious act. So I hope Mayor Bloomberg never uses the word prayer in his vocabulary again. By this decision, he has shown it has no place in public. I guess he overlooked the second phrase of the Amemdment that says "or prohibiting the free expression thereof".

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

      Science 101....any rational person knows you can't prove a negative David M (see your comment above in the thread). For example, you can't prove that there is not (that's a negative) a dog who can speak English fluently. You could find millions of dogs who can't but I could always say "well you haven't found him yet". That is why the burden of proof is on the one making a positive claim...I would have to bring to you the dog that I claim can speak. And if I can't do so, then you can logically conclude that such a dog does not exist....and you would be wise in doing so.

      My point is that anyone can make outrageous claims of fact but the burden of proof is always on the person making the positive claim rather than the person making a negative claim. So if you wantt to win an argument with someone over the existence of...say the Easter Bunny, you can't just say "Well you can't prove the Easter Bunny isn't real so ergo he must be real!" NO of course not, you would need to get some hard evidence to prove he exists. And not just some writings about him in a book, after all there have been many books written about the Easter Bunny.

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

      The decision not to allow charlatans to lead a tribal chant at this celebration is not preventing any individual cult member from exercising their rights. No one has a right to get up on a public stage, at an event organized by a government agency, to make any speech they like. Appeals to non-existent allegedly supernatural beings are not covered by special privileges.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • Really???

      After alienating people by excluding the 1st responders & clergy Mayor Bloomburg will soon find out about another American right....The right to vote for his opponent when he attempts re-election.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  16. Wzrd1

    Wow! So, if family wants any religious representation, they need to abstain from the ceremony.
    S-Hug, kiss my butt. There IS a first amendment, that PROTECTS THE RIGHT OF RELIGION.
    So, my family may not have any religious observance of where my cousin was ground to damned dust?
    Screw you and your mother.
    Not to mention that the first responders,even the surviving ones from the FIRST response, are not welcome.
    Screw NYC. Hope the damned hurricane levels the ENTIRE city and washes the obscenity from the nation.
    Since it's now forcing atheism on all.

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

      For someone who claims to be a christian, you are filled with a lot of hatred.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • UncelM

      Thanks – you've just demonstrated why religion should be excluded. Your desire to see NYC destroyed makes you no different from the terrorists.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Really???

      frenchy I feel that Wzrd1 has a right to feel betrayed by the Mayor's actions. I feel a little sickened too. My child lost a group of school friends who cut school to go sight seeing on 911. Are they going to confiscate someone's rosary or prayer beads if they start to pray next time? This IS disrespectful of victims, survivors & responders.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:47 pm |
    • Barfy Spewsalot

      Carefull what you wish for God has a nasty habit of targeting people like you. I did it interesting how many disasters happen in RED states. Yet Liberal areas tend to miss any Natural disasters.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:32 am |
  17. Jon

    As I recall, 9/11 was a "faith-based initiative". People have the right in this country to believe in any faith or in no faith. We need to simply remember 9/11 for those who lost their lives and for those who gave theirs...regardless of religion.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Apparently, it's a faith based initiative, but any WITH ANY form of faith are unwelcome.
      Screw the ENTIRE city. I hope the hurricane erases it in its entirety.

      August 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • Denise

      You are an idiot

      "faith-based initiative", e.g. U.S. President George W. Bush's proposal to grant religious charitable social-service groups federal money via the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

      August 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  18. sparknut

    Just goes to prove that Bloomberg doesn't have a prayer.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
  19. Nora Bradbury-Haehl

    So disappointed to see CNN talking to Donahue as if he's representative of mainstream Catholicism, ugh! He's a terrible, hate-filled man who consistently misrepresents Catholicism. Though he can always be counted on to say something bombastic and offensive.

    August 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  20. S-Hug

    Thank God. People need to keep religion to themselves instead of pushing it in everyone's face.

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


      August 25, 2011 at 9:32 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.