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Progressive Christians join controversy over excluding clergy at 9/11 event
Progressive Christians are criticizing both New York Michael Bloomberg and his conservative critics.
September 7th, 2011
02:15 PM ET

Progressive Christians join controversy over excluding clergy at 9/11 event

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN

(CNN) - A handful of progressive Christian leaders are joining the mostly conservative chorus of religious leaders who are criticizing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg for excluding clergy from this weekend’s 9/11 commemoration event at ground zero.

But there’s a twist.

In addition to criticizing Bloomberg, progressive religious leaders are also taking aim at prominent conservatives who’ve blasted Bloomberg in recent days, alleging that those critics are stoking division at a time that calls for national unity.

The group is planning a press conference near ground zero on Friday to stress that “religion should not be excluded from 9/11 remembrances” but to also “urge unity, not division, on 9/11,” according to a Tuesday press release.

The Friday press conference, which will overlook ground zero, will feature Jim Wallis, who leads the evangelical social justice group Sojourners; the Rev. Floyd Flake, a prominent New York pastor and former Democratic congressman; and Geoff Tunnicliffe, who heads the World Evangelical Alliance.

“Mayor Bloomberg made an understandable but regrettable decision,” said Tim King, communications director for Sojourners, an evangelical Christian social justice group that is helping to plan the press conference.

“Religion, and religious leaders, have caused a lot of unnecessary conflict and controversy,” King wrote in an e-mail message. “But avoiding religion entirely does not get to the root of the problem.”

“The answer is better religion,” King continued. “And to those religious leaders who are stirring up a media controversy about this decision ... you are showing exactly why Mayor Bloomberg didn’t want you there in the first place.”

Since The Wall Street Journal first reported last month that the 10th anniversary September 11 anniversary event – which will be attended by President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, among other leaders - will exclude clergy and formal prayers, conservative Christians have vented outrage.

“The clergy gag rule is being instituted to avoid ‘disagreements over which religious leaders participate.’ But since when has this been an issue?” wrote Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, in recent e-mail message to supporters.

“Plenty of clergy, including an imam, spoke at an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium after the attacks, and they managed to pull it off without a problem,” he wrote. “Why would it be any different this time?”

Bloomberg’s office has defended the mayor's decision on clergy.

"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 Bloomberg spokeswoman, said in an e-mail to CNN in late August.

"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," she wrote.

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.

–CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 9/11 • Christianity

soundoff (861 Responses)
  1. YBP

    The unspeakable atrocities of 9/11 were enacted in the name of the god of the ancient middle east. Gods do not exist. None ever did. Clergymen are entirely inconsequential in the real world.

    Science and Reason. No Magic.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Carla

      With the "science" and godless reasoning, atheists not only massacred humanity but also polluted the planet like hell. It's secular or pagan Americans who love magic, not the Abrahamic religious. Magic is strictly forbidden in all three religions because all magic is demonic.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Public Enemy Number 2

      @Carla – I hope you never get sick, because "magic" (a.k.a. science) will be used to make you better.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Know What

      Carla,

      Yeah, re: polluting the planet: We need to be more like the ancient Hebrews in the Bible who wandered in the desert for 40 years and didn't leave One Single Trace of their presence 🙂

      September 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • blahblah

      so , you americans every year on 9/11 sit down and cry??? When someone has a bad memory he shouldn't try and remember it every year . he should forget it and move on.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Poor Carla (aka Princess of Lies) lost contact with reality long ago. All she has left is the bible she is currently writing. Most of her ramblings have very little to do with the original christian bible.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Credenza

      @Know What – There's no trace of anything in the desert! You're talking about thousands of years ago. With shifting sands constantly, there's no trace of anything after a month. I'm not being obstructive – I'm just not sure what you meant.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:35 pm |
    • Know What

      Actually, tallulah, I think her next name will be "Madame Mao" - Jaing Qing was noted for her many nicknames too, and she played the same tune and beat as Carla (dogma, tyranny and dictatorship), just with different lyrics.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • J.W

      Princess of Lies huh? That could be her next name.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • sonic10158

      @ybp you cannot prove this, so you won't know until you die and find out for yourself.

      and despite popular belief, you can be religious and scientific. the bible is not a science book

      September 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Know What

      Credenza,

      The Exodus was supposed to be 2 to 3 *Million* people who traveled for 40 years. Evidence has been found in the desert for the existence of tribes of far fewer numbers. Archeologists *might* find something someday, but it does not look promising.

      Besides that, if you read some of the explanations for lack of buried bodies, cookware, or latrines, etc... they chalk it up to miracle manna that "God" sent down which caused no-one to die, or need food, and yes, it even altered their digestive systems so that they didn't poop!

      September 8, 2011 at 12:03 am |
    • realist

      Carla, I live in a very conservative christian area. Most of the people I work with are bent, brainwashed, Christians. They still think women should be subservient. They still believe they need to be "fruitful and multiply'. They also think its OK to mistreat animals and burn their garbage in there backyards. They have no regard for the environment because they think 'God' gave the whole world to them alone. I have lived in this area for my entire life and it is my constant exposure to the hypocrisy of religion that makes me a 'non-believer'.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  2. =====Bo===for those who want to know, I do the dash thing so I can fihd my last post easy

    This has been a good day, not very much personality bashing.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  3. smiley

    So worried about offending the muslims we can't even properly commemorate the anniversary of 9/11 in a traditional american manner. Not since 9/11 has anyone worried about priests or rabbis attending events.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Scarls

      Hate to break it to you but they aren't worried about offending Muslims. They are more worried that if they included Muslims, fundamental Christians would freak out. And, they are also worried about clergy praying in Jesus' name b/c NY has a large Jewish population who doesn't want to hear that either. In my city, they allow clergy to pray at public events but they aren't allowed to use Jesus' name so they aren't seen as endorsing just Christianity. Although, they are endorsing a monotheistic religion, so I don't know how that really helps with the whole separation of church and state thing. Guess it just keeps the complaints down.

      It shouldn't matter. There is nothing stopping any person of any religion from praying in their own way during a moment of silence. And those who are Christian should know that we aren't supposed to be praying in public anyway. Those who do, do it for show and not to actually have communication with God. And I'm willing to bet there were at least a few atheists who died on 9/11 and maybe they wouldn't want us to be praying at a rememberance ceremony for them.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's called respect, smiley. You should consider learning about it. People of many faiths died that day, because people of a specific religion thought that their belief was more important than innocent lives. Do you think your religion is more important than those lives? That's the only reason I can think that people of faith are so adamant about forcing their presence onto this ceremony.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • J.W

      so smiley I suppose that it would be ok if we had an all Muslim commemoration as well right?

      September 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  4. harmonynoyes

    every inch of your tiny little brain, and then we can only hope for the best, and pray=== to the true God of Faith, Hope, and Love

    September 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  5. Cat

    Christian religious leaders should ONLY be allowed as long as they give equal time to Wiccans, Native American Shamans, Druids, pan-theists, MUSLIMS, Buddists, Toaists et al. If ANY of the afroementioned would not be welcomed, then Christian religious leaders should NOT be there. PURE AND SIMPLE. We are a poly-religious nation. I am sick and tired of ONE particular religion getting preferential treatment to the detriment of another.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I completely agree.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • John Richardson

      And there are many times when it is simply too unwieldy to be all inclusive, so the best bet is to be all exclusive. And this would be one of those many times. Christian clergy seem to feel that they have an open invitation to help lead any and all public ceremonies of significance. That's absurd and it was foolish of us ever to allow them to develop this belief. We have to be steadfast in our resolve to wean them of it.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • harmonynoyes

      you need more education before you go on taking everyone's part; how many nazi-lovers do you think there were before they showed their true colors?
      naievete, and wishing everyone got along, is ignorant
      have a nice day

      September 8, 2011 at 1:04 am |
    • bobby

      Amen!

      September 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  6. harmonynoyes

    if bloomberg is trying to be "not too provocative", let him remember the heroic brave and good first responders, firemen, chaplain of the fire dept, some of whom died at the site
    no "mosque" of the pretend friendly muslims at the site , and keep on paying attention to the GOOD heroes
    who gave all to save others

    September 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Cat

      Sure. And no crosses or prayers for the pretend friendly Christians in this country. After all, since Islam reveres Christ as a PROPHET just as Christians revere Moses or King David or Solomon (as do the Muslims, btw) they MUST be equally EVIL, right?

      September 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I'm assuming that you never checked the religions of those who were killed that day. One of them was one of those heroes you mention, a muslim police cadet. Do you think he should be honored with a religious ceremony at the memorial, too?

      September 7, 2011 at 11:24 pm |
    • harmonynoyes

      to cat:
      if you think wanting to build a mosque at ground zero is not a "political" move, (oh, but we're the good muslims) you are very naive
      just like islam is a religion/political system , not so benign

      September 8, 2011 at 12:27 am |
    • harmonynoyes

      Cat:
      If islamic terrorists bomb the hell out of your city, then other islamists want to build their mosque on that site, IT"S NOT A FRIENDLY GESTURE!!!

      September 8, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • myweightinwords

      And some of those heroes were Muslim, Buddhist, Pagan, etc.

      And the people that died in those planes and in the towers? They were many different religions as well.

      Slapping a Christian prayer onto any ceremony with regard to this horrible tragedy is not sufficient. To represent ALL of the faiths would be too time consuming and not practical. Thus, Bloomberg wisely chose to simply exclude all religious content.

      It is the right thing to do.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
  7. javajoe

    Good call by Bloomberg. Religion generally does more harm than good.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • A faithful, open-minded, Christian who is open to the truth each religion has to offer

      I'd be curious to know how the NYC firefighters would respond to the claim that 'religion generally does more harm than good.' On 9/11, it was Fr. Mychal Judge, their beloved NYFD chaplain, who gave up his own life to attend to the firefighters who responded so bravely to the horror of that day. We've all seen the photo of him being carried away by firefighters once they found him dead. And Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, spent two weeks following 9/11 offering spiritual support and comfort to the crews of workers cleaning up and hoping to find survivors in the rubble of Ground Zero. Any free moment Fr. Jim had during those two weeks was spent at Ground Zero. Why? To offer spiritual, religious-based support, compassion, and comfort in the name of an all-loving God.

      Somehow, I doubt that those who were on the receiving end of these priests' compassion and genuine care would agree that "religion generally does more harm than good." Like countless clergy of other religious faiths who reached out and comforted those in pain, goodness is what flowed from then, not harm. As we refuse to forget 9/11, let us also not forget that. The hijackers may have invoked God's name as they attacked our country, but far many more people of faith, many of whom were clergy, reached out that day, performing innumerable acts of kindness and self-sacrifice, doing so in the name of a loving God.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  8. ny345

    Sooo let me get this straight. We allow an Islamic center to be built by the WTC site, but no religious affiliation is allowed for the 10th anniversary. Ok just checking.

    September 7, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      Yeah I agree with you, it is pretty dumb to build anything religious near the WTC site.

      If this event was to be meaningful, there would be no religious context whatsoever.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
    • jms5353

      We also allow a church very near to the WTC site. The Islamic Center is NOT in the WTC site. It is a block or so away as is a church! In the U.S. we have freedom of religion and that allows people the right to practice what they wish. Not all Islamic's are terrorists just as not all Catholic priests abuse boys. I myself believe the mayor made a good call. The memorial should not have not have religion involved. Honsetly, a religuous fundamentalist group (based off of religion) created the heartache. And if you included religion in the memorial service what religion would it be? Honestly, if they included religion they would represent all the religion involved on that day which would include Muslims. If that happened many people would be up in arms! Then if we excluded Muslim clergy then those of the Muslim faith would be upset and rightfully so. Bottom line 9/11 and the thousand of people lost on that day is not about a religous moment. If people want religion included in it then they may opt to have services at their local houses of worship. Simply put 9/11 was a horrofic day and this memorail is about all those people who suffered. Many of them had different faiths or were agnostic or athiest. We should just celebrate them. Again, religion is a personal matter and families should and will memorialize their loved ones on a personal level based on their own religous beliefs. I just hope that we never have another "9/11"

      September 7, 2011 at 9:41 pm |
  9. Beth

    My God is not silent.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Ahnu

      Constantly hearing voices, eh?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • somewhat amused

      Lol @ ahnu. Nailed it!

      September 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • *frank*

      *crickets*

      September 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  10. Hesalive

    Satan loves it when Jesus is excluded from society.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      is Satan a deity? if so then you are a polytheist.

      BTW you don't have to worship a deity to actually be a polytheist, you just have to think that it exists. If you think Satan exists then you are a polytheist 🙂

      September 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bill

      He loves it even more when the "Men of God' here on earth molest children.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  11. On my knees for God's pleasure

    The 3,000 people who died on 9/11 did so because of peoples beliefs in an imaginary sky daddy.

    Now people with a different (but originally from the same myths) imaginary sky daddy want to talk to him at that same place.

    How about we keep this ceremony actually meaningful and leave the "blessed" speakers of imaginary friends out of this?

    September 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
    • Hesalive

      You will be judged by God almighty. You're only hope at that moment is the blood of Jesus Christ. Follow him now, while you can. He forgives every sin but you have to ask for that forgiveness. That's the rub- human pride keeps you from admitting your need. You have until your last breath, though, to repent.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      ah, yes, effective, logical, clear and concise statement! I will be punished after death for not believing the particular deity that you believe. A child could see through the obvious man made cult that people call christianity.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  12. On my knees for God's pleasure

    The US prayed all the time after September 11th, the Bush administration apparently relied on god for some policy direction, a lot of good that did.

    god had his chance and has shown nothing from it, we are better off without a pastor desecrating ground zero with his imaginary friend.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm |
    • fred

      How do you know it would be a waster? What he pastor may say could be of value to someone.
      The country was not allowed to pray after 911. Bush asked for it and 100% of democrats voted against a national day of prayer following 911. Some individuals prayed no doubt but the Nation was blocked from a collective action. We will never know what would have happened had we stopped for a few hours on that one day.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      fred, the country was praying a lot then, religious fever was everywhere, and bush attended national day of prayer events every year.

      How pathetic would god be if he didn't want to help people because there wasn't a nationwide, federally sponsored "collective prayer"?

      How pathetic would god have to be to not assist people in the time of need since some politicians didn't vote for a nationalized praying day?

      very pathetic is the answer 🙂

      September 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • fred

      I seldom see God answer prayer as man puts it out there. Seems our prayer is often selfcentered, right after a 911 or a car crash, cancer etc. Kinda like paying attention to a friend when you need something.
      My thought is that had this country actually opened up in prayer we would have seen some change in us as a people. Often times prayer does not change the situation but changes the person praying.
      As to national day of prayer I was referring to the special day requested by Bush over 911 not the annual day of prayer we have every year. Even that seems political with Clinton and Obama not in attendence but once and Bush going every year.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Hmmm... I don't know that I'm with you on this one, Fred. I think that if you are suggesting that your God needed a 'day' of prayer after 9-11 otherwise, he doesn't hear it, I think your argument is getting a little thin, don't you think...?

      Yes, I'm aware... I can't say prove otherwise, but common sense seems to come into play here.

      " Often times prayer does not change the situation but changes the person praying. "

      Regardless of whether or not I believe that prayer to a Deity somehow influences reality, I do think that a person putting themselves into a 'good place' (internally) probably does benefit just from centering their minds and thoughts. So, I do like this quote I pulled out by you.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      September 8, 2011 at 12:38 am |
    • fred

      Peace2All
      You are correct I was not implying God needed a day of prayer. The bill was for a day of prayer and fasting for america to reflect on the response to 911. This was the period when everyone was waiting to see what the White House would do. This was not a mind changer for God but a new resolve for America.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:50 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      Yeah... getting into that very 'grey' are now. This was something 'similar' to what Perry was trying to do, yes...?

      I think that everyone doing whatever it is they do to get themselves more 'resolve' is for them to decide individually, right...?

      I mean, a day of "prayer and fasting" is just not something that floats everyone's boat, and to try to federally mandate something 'religious' like that, again, doesn't make sense to me.

      But... I appreciate your good intentions.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      September 8, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Fred

      *-grey area now.- *

      Peace...

      September 8, 2011 at 12:58 am |
  13. Elliot

    Religion, at least Christianity, is supposed to be a private matter not one of pageants, public ceremonies and massive displays. A very wise man once said, "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites....when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

    September 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm |
    • WORD

      +1 Elliot

      September 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Maria

      Apparently you're not familiar with catholicism.......wink, wink..... 😉

      September 7, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      What are you talking about? we must not only be out were everyone can see us pray, we must have the government sponsor these public prayers!

      September 7, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
    • Maria

      And, I should say that I absolutely agree with you. But, I had people who attempted to raise me a catholic.......so I understand their pagentry and displays.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • Maria

      I don't believe that the govt should "sponsor" any religion, but religious beliefs should be tolerated and allowed........and I am a nonbeliever.

      September 7, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Cat

      + 100 Elliot!

      September 7, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  14. Tracy Imhoff

    It is a sad state of affairs to exclude religion from the most traumatic event in our history. I guess Obama was right with his statement that this is no longer a Christian Nation. Judging by the majority of comments so far, it appears there is no longer freedom of Religion, however we now have suppression of religon. I feel the Mayor himself by making this judgment causes the controversy.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
    • JP

      The President was correct in his speech but not with the quote you chose. He immediately says thereafter – we are and always have been a nation of many faiths and non-faiths. America never once was a Christian nation and that isn't necessary for people of faith to lead positive, expressive lives. Thomas Jefferson owned a Quran that he valued enough to have his name inscribed in. He understood the value of diversity of opinion and the threat a theocracy represents (a key motivator for the defect from England in the beginning).

      September 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • captain america

      Thomas Jefferson inscribed his name in all his books.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
    • JP

      ...and the point is he owned the Quran and held it in similar regard. Historically you might anticipate he'd be put off of claiming that particular book by name for worry of what it may imply or what may be assumed. Personally I think Jefferson's quotes against Christianity affecting public discourse are far more telling than any book he may have owned.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      The US never was a Christian nation. We are a nation of freedom of and from religion. Each individual has the right to choose for him/herself.

      This decision is NOT about suppressing religion. It is about logistics. If we were to allow clergy in to pray during this public remembrance, who would choose which religions, which sects/denominations, which leaders got to be involved? How do you represent the diverse spread of faiths of a city like NYC? Or even just the faiths of those who died that day?

      Better that we have silence, in which we can all offer up our thoughts to whichever god, or spirit or to simply remember the lost in the quiet in our own beliefs than we wait through twenty five different prayers for one that suits us.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
  15. Alex Winter

    “Religion, and religious leaders, have caused a lot of unnecessary conflict and controversy”
    That about sums it up. We've had a bellyful of it from the attacks themselves to the mosque controversy to this cr@p. Just leave it be and move on.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  16. Maria

    While I understand your comment @RachelM....I am also a none believer. I do not feel that my non belief status in a traditional religion or God, should interfere with others beliefs. Many take comfort in their understanding and belief. I see no reason why all religions should not participate in this rememberence. I'm honestly wondering why Bloomberg feels so threatened by allowing them to join and participate. i USED to admire him......but now he seems like a paranoid little man.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • hello

      its all about the god wars... my god is better than you god.. it is also seen as an opportunity to show up other. I think this is a GREAT decision and should be carried to all government events including meetings, sessions, etc.

      You can't allow one myth to be represented without allowing ALL OF THEM... It will be a refreshing to see a true respectful event that is above and beyond the disgusting myths and free of bigotry and hate.
      THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING HUMANITY and NOT the INSANITY MYTHS.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • myweightinwords

      It goes well beyond the "which religion" debate or the insanity of allowing ALL religions (because seriously, that would take all day)...and dips into "which leader" of each religion. And then there's the "which denomination/sect" of each religion.

      No matter who he would allow into the ceremony, someone somewhere would be offended. Keep them all out, we can all be offended equally and together.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  17. Lise Quinn

    I agree, the clergy, should not be there. Why? Because if you let the Christian clergy in, you will also have to let the Islamic clergy, the Jewish clergy, the pagan clergies. And we all know how Americans feel about non-white, non Christian clergy or people. I bet that if any Islamic clergy show up, there will be a riot. And so, to be safe and to actually pay respects to those ho have fallen, religion needs to be off the table, or it will be a debacle.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  18. RachelM

    If members of clergy were to participate in this event, then all religions would have to be honored and represented, not just the Christians.
    But why do folks have to drag religion into everything? If you feel the need to say a prayer, do it in your head – silently – so you don't offend other people.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
    • SWBeth

      If anyone else are offended when I pray then that problem resides within them. Free speech...and all that right?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm |
    • SWBeth

      *oops... swap "is" for "are"!

      September 7, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
    • JP

      If a Muslim man begins to chant and kneel at ground zero is that ok with you? If a Muslim woman, veil and all, begins to chant and kneel at ground zero – is that fine by you? Freedom of speech and all.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tracy Imhoff

      Does Freedom of religon mean that one has to be silent and only pray in your head. I say that is suppression of my rights.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
    • hello

      JP.. and it they all scream GOD is great and make the whole event an muzzy god Vs Christian and Jewish god it could be an event of insanity... Keep your god in your head and out of mine.... Your dogma may be what you live for, but live better without it.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • JP

      To 'hello' – I'm a proponent of religion being absent from such events. I personally am an atheist and I have no desire to see a pagan chant, christian chant, muslim chant or any other chant that would exclude anyone. There is one chant I find interesting and that is one that promotes solidarity of many Americans that felt a similar horror that day – regardless of what they say in their own head at the end of the day. That is the discussion we should be having each and every year.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
  19. Nick

    This is not ok. At all.

    September 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Tracy Imhoff

      100% agree with you. This sacred ground and it was an event that made a majority call out to God.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
    • On my knees for God's pleasure

      with a majority calling to god, did he help us much?

      September 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Tracy..my take is that we have defined ourselves by the gods, or non gods we believe in. In fact we should think of our selves a Human Beings first,and they should be object of our caring and love, not the gods. There is no reason that a religion should expect to be invited into any gathering, any more than I could be expected to be invited as an atheist. You may well find comfort in the Bible and most likely do, there is nothing wrong with that at all, some my find it in reading say, Harry Potter, but I would hate to see hogwarts characters making speeches. This is a time to remember the human beings, the fathers,sons,daughters mothers partners lost on that day. What difference does it make what god they happened to believe in,
      You may say that god talks to you,then why would it matter if a speaker on stage says the same thing.. many would bring their bibles and get comfort from that.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
    • Sporkify

      I'm sure all the hijackers were calling out to your god as the plane hit.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  20. @Bo

    Hey, Bo,

    Love the ejac***ting p**is that your name "===Bo" is meant to suggest.

    Can you take your ph**lic symbols elsewhere?

    September 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm |
    • Emoticon

      Yes, that's an ancient emoticon. With smiley-cons so prevalent these days, most people wouldn't catch that.

      September 7, 2011 at 8:04 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.