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. Timmy

    Religion will be there at the event. Political parties are organizations just like religious groups are organizations. The vast majority of people invited have some religious background. Even though there may not be an official spiritual leader to represent the faiths, the people in attendance will automatically reflect on their religious beliefs at the event and reflect on where their dead loved ones are at. Its impossible to engage in a memorial of a loved one and not get spiritual because, death and what happens to you after death is a spiritual topic.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:28 am |
    • desert voice (troubledgoodangel or Nathanael or Voiceinthedesert)

      Timmy, it isn't enough. I know that religion will be there in the survivor's hearts. But this does not exonerate a Mayor who insults these hearts, by banning their spiritual leaders! It makes me profoundly sick. I smell Satan. The Mayor wants Satan to win on the site of 9/11! This is callous in the extreme, offensive to the victims and to their relatives! No religious feelings ought to be insulted in that place! He who does it has no soul, no patriotism, and no dignity!

      September 8, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • BRC

      @Desert Voice(s),
      Who is banned? They didn't ban anyone, all are welcome, there just aren't any religious speakers. Why is that a problem?

      September 8, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • jimtanker

      You dont smell satan. I just farted.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • BRC

      Been eating deviled eggs?

      September 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Sporkify

      You smell satan? Rofl...

      It's just impossible to take you people seriously.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  2. Boo

    God is banned from the festivities despite the fact that billions of people prayed to him that day.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:25 am |
    • HotAirAce

      If there are any gods, and I don't believe there are, and they want to be there, I'm sure they will find a way. If they can't manage that, they can't be very powerful or worth worshipping.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, there is no longer ANY first amendment at all. Since you blame it for some terrorists, free speech played a part, it will be banned, religion will be banned, freedom of assembly-NOPE, TERRORIST assembled and murdered, freedom of the press, the press spurred them on, extremist press.
      So, the USSA will enforce NO free speech, press, assembly or religion, GLOBALLY. Upon threat of thermonuclear destruction of any offender, even domestically.
      Now, we have a proper society for you.
      Can't get more double-plus ungood than YOU.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Wzrd1 You aren't very wise, wzrd1. No one has the first amendment right to ascend the podium and lead a group of people who aren't all co-believers in a prayer. You have a right to prayer to whoever you choose privately or publicly at a service you and your co-believers organize for such a purpose. Should you welcome non-co-believers to YOUR ceremony, they have no right to stop you from having even the most extremely sectarian of public, group prayers, as it is YOUR ceremony. But there are restrictions on where you can hold such a ceremony.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • LadyAtheist

      God is supposedly everywhere, so how could God be banned? The only thing being banned is the most divisive and destructive force in modern humanity: religion.

      Oh and BTW, don't forget that the hijackers prayed to God that day, too. That enough is grounds to "ban" him

      September 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  3. Terry Brookman

    The last word is that you can't make something out of nothing, you may differ on opinion as to where all this stuff came from but it came from somewhere. Everything we see and so much more is beyond our understanding or comprehension as to the source. All these so called religions have no more understanding than your plumber or mechanic but are perfectly clear on the matter of killing to reinforce there hold on the bleeding masses. I personally have hoped some people would kill them all especially the rich and then kill themselves, leaving us who just like living alone.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:24 am |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, your wish is granted.
      NO more company owners and managers, no way to RUN that company.
      No more of 30-50% of your workforce that is now unemployed anyway.
      No more of 80% of the GLOBAL work force employment.
      Now, your homework for next time: THINK before you blather stupidly.
      Because, I was VERY conservative on those numbers. Unrealistically conservative. As in near extinction level conservative.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I personally have hoped some people would kill them all especially the rich and then kill themselves, leaving us who just like living alone.”

      If you are a poor boy or girl living in the slums of Brazil or even parts of Appalachian and inner cities here in the states.... A person making 15 grand to 20 grand is are the start of the “rich” scale.

      I won't even go to how wrong it is to say that you hope folks would kill themselves.

      How F-k'd up is your life Terry. Also where on the “rich” scale do you think or do not think you fall, because unless you are writing this from a cardboard box under a highway overpass chances are some one has already classified you as being closer to Bill Gates than you are to them.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  4. Buzzing

    After the murdering of innocent men, women and children on 9/11, I still remember how people came together...many picking up their dusty Bibles, opening and reading them. I remember thinking...after the dust settles people will return to their old ways.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Wzrd1

      I missed that, due to deployment. But, I agree fully and was proved right. On steroids.
      The morons drink the koolaid of their party of choice, then repeat the lunacy and lies of their leadership, never CONSIDERING THEIR OWN RIGHTS IMPACTED BY THEIR SUPPORT.
      Or, should I say, LOSS of rights. Over and over and over again.
      Frankly, Nineteen eighty-four has been used as an INSTRUCTION MANUAL and the prollies SUPPORT it!
      In three more years, we'll have some version of BIG BROTHER ruling Oceania.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • LadyAtheist

      That day also inspired many atheists to come out of the closet, because it demonstrated the depraved potential of religiosity. We kept quiet until then because religion seemed like a harmless fantasy, like clinging to a belief in Santa Claus. And then Bush's overt prosletyzing and even using the word "crusade" showed us that Christianity has the same potential to destroy us as Islam does. Go have your own prayer meeting at your own denomination and leave the rest of us alone. In order to truly represent the feelings of everyone who was killed, or who lost a loved one, or whose life was turned upside down, or who was terrified, or who watched the events on TV, there would have to be representatives from all 2,000 Christian denominations, dozens of Jewish sects, all the various versions of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, and all the other religions around the world.

      ...or we could be neutral and share a remembrance about what was common to us all.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  5. bint

    This 9/11 bs is really getting annoying! How many people are killed around the world every night? Or die because of no food? Do we remember them every ten years and build billion dollar buildings for them? NO! Cause we only want to be angry at the Muslims for this! Since 9/11 I have converted to Islam because I see that there is no true religion but Islam. It is sad that the people died, but there is war everywhere. Also as to the person who said if there was no Muslims the twin towers would still be there, if there where no Muslims there would be no algebra, airplanes, among many other things. Islam means peace, and its all of you hateful people that make the Muslims made and react. Why doesn't everyone just get a long with each other and realize and accept each other. And enough with this 9/11 remembrance, call me un American, but it is just annoying!

    September 8, 2011 at 1:14 am |
    • Peace2All


      " Since 9/11 I have converted to Islam because I see that there is no true religion but Islam. "

      I'm curious as to how you came to 'believe' that Islam is 'the' 'true' 'religion'...?



      September 8, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • bint

      I studied it for about 5 years in Universities and on my free time. There is so much more to Islam than what people want to see. People are blinded by 9/11 and cannot see the beauty of the religion. It just makes me sad that things like OK city bombing happened and nobody blamed it on Religion or went against Christianity. I think that the actions of the events from 9/11 have more to do with the person's personal beliefs and not Islam. However; after hearing all of this hate about Muslims I wanted to understand why without judging and thats how.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:27 am |
    • Peace2All


      O.K... I'm following, but you still haven't 'specified' how Islam for you, 'is the one true religion.'

      What specifically about Islam, leads you to believe this...?


      September 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • Buzzing

      Really, Islam? And how does one go to heaven? By killing those who will not bow to Islam? The Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, that who so ever believe in Him, shall have everlasting life. He died for the just and the unjust. We are all sinners.
      Are you so perfect that you have not lied? Do you love your neighbor, they why do you hate the Jews and Christians? Did not the Lord Jesus Christ say that we are to love our neighbors as our selves? His wise teachings says, For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.."

      September 8, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • bint

      To me, it is the continuation of the Bible, and if you ask many Muslim Scholars they will tell you that. Prophet Isa (Jesus) and Mariam (Mary) play a very important role in Islam. The only thing is that we as Muslims do not believe that Prophet Isa was the son of God, because God or Allah does not have any children. There are so many things that made me believe that this is the true religion for me. Maybe take a course, and you would see why. You most likely wouldn't convert but you would have a better understanding. I hope this answers your question.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • Peace2All


      So... specifically, for you, it seemed 'true' because it also 'seemed' as if it was a 'continuation' of the Bible...?

      Continuation, as in "the last and final word"...?

      Isn't that typically what most or a lot of Muslim's believe anyway...?

      Well, even if you don't come back to continue the dialogue, I appreciate your thoughts.



      September 8, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • bint

      Buzzing I do not hate anyone. Some people become hateful, but you seem to also be hateful towards Muslims. I believe in Jesus. As do all Muslims. Please try to understand Islam a little better before you go around bashing the Religion. I do not hate Jews or Christians, I have a lot of respect for them. My mom is Catholic and my father is Greek Orthodox. I just believe as humans we should all get along no matter our religion. We should take our time and effort to help those in need! Yes is is horrible what happened on 9/11 and I would never wish that upon anyone or any country, but understand that just as there are radical Christians and Jews there are also bad seeds in Islam.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:48 am |
    • bint

      Honestly @peace, when something feels right, and good in your heart and mind, you go with it and accept it. When I started studying I took my time, and everything felt right, my heart felt like it had found a home. It is not something I can simply explain, but that is just how it is. This is not something that was rushed or some overnight choice I made.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Buzzing

      bint, annoyed? " How many people are killed around the world every night?" Many are Christians in Muslims countries for not converting to Islam.
      "Or die because of no food?" They are not murdered.
      " Do we remember them every ten years and build billion dollar buildings for them?" America was and will be always be a Christian nation and even though the Muslim in the Oval Office says we no longer are...he is wrong. The Christain country and Israel is always the first in any disaster to help out any country, aiding in food, water and other assistance needed.
      " NO! Cause we only want to be angry at the Muslims for this! Since 9/11." It wasn't Israel that flew the planes into the twin tower or other buildings to kill innoent men, women and children.
      " I have converted to Islam because I see that there is no true religion but Islam." Really?

      September 8, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Peace2All


      Again, thanks for the discussion. It might help, since you are a Muslim, to possibly give your opinion on why there is such a misunderstanding about what the Qur'an states.

      We have many, many people on these blogs and across the U.S. that like to quote passages from the Qur'an that seem to talk about 'killing' infidels, etc... etc...

      I think this is where someone like yourself just might be able to shed some light on these passages in the Qur'an that a lot of people use to justify their hatred of Islam and Muslim's.

      Any thoughts on this...? Can you bring some specifics in on this and show that the interpretations are wrong that a lot of people are making...?



      September 8, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • tucsonmam

      you converted ??? ok – your right – but please... tell me you have learn (and well understand !) HOW and UPON WICH beliefs muslim religion has been made... but let's start by the beginning : Mahommet was a WARRIOR (Jesus, Bouddha, Socrate are philosophicals), Mahommet yells orders (Jesus, Bouddha, Socrate discuss), Mahommet wants the world becoming muslim and asks for this battles, violence, blood's baths (Jesus, Bouddha, Socrate dissert, explain their points of view and keep people free to follow them or not), Mahommet uses words like war, battle, sacrifice, sword, weapon (Jesus, Bouddha, Socrate talk about love, serenity, sharing, comprehension, open mind). Now, tell me you have been informed of this (and much more) before to convert.
      ps : please, don't misunderstand my subject : I DO NOT compare priests or imams – I compare, let's say, "prophets", even Socrate was just philosopher rather than "prophet", but we can't deny that Jesus, Bouddha and Socrate are greats masters of life... while Mahommet... from the beginning he is another kind of man.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • tallulah13

      Many of us remember 9/11 because it was a day that thousands of people died because radical believers decided that their religion was more important than innocent lives. It doesn't matter what religion it was, only that it was fanatical belief caused it. I choose to mourn for those lost that day, because they were murdered for absolutely nothing. There is not a trace of proof that any god ever existed. You can believe whatever you want, but don't insult those that died on that day for the hollowness of religion.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Know What


      You know, I still haven't quite figured out if it was a matter of addressing political gripes under the guise of religion, or a religious power strike under the guise of addressing political gripes.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Actually, were you to say that to my face, you'd be in the hospital in critical condition.
      My cousin died on the 84th floor of the south tower. No body recovered or any remains.
      I've lost 27 men while fighting to prevent ANOTHER attack, as there WAS a bombing at the same site not that long before.
      I'm partially deaf, due to an IED intended to kill me and my men.
      And while I was supporting our const i tution and nation, morons like you want to erase it!
      Well, sonny. THIS SF veteran is now retired and back home. AND in a REALLY bad mood, thanks to you and many of the turncoats posting here.
      We WILL ENFORCE our const i tution or I'll see to it ALL of the amendments are repealed, destroying the nation utterly. As you seem to wish. Because, I've survived the most unsurvivable situations you couldn't possibly imagine. By finding the impossible way. Such as what I suggested, which is actually QUITE easy to accomplish in the current craven environment. Each amendment needs only be displayed by the threat it poses.
      And I'm not playing you all. I'm REAL close to acting on it by special political means.
      Since you don't LIKE a first amendment, that will go first.
      The second will rapidly fall, due to "incidents", the rest in a landslide, from the second's repeal...
      So, respect what we have or it will cease to exist. Either way, once I trigger the response, I and my family will depart this former nation to a safe location that was already extensively studied.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Buzzing

      bint, you stated that yout hate no one. You also stated that, "some people become hateful," Yet the Koran states, death to all infidels. You also stated, "but you seem to also be hateful towards Muslims." But that is your interpretation. The Lord Jesus Christ says we are to love our neighbors? See, its this cat and mouse tac tic the Muslims are playing. Accuse them of hate if they don't agree. Again you wrote, "I believe in Jesus. As do all Muslims." Yes and it is not the same Jesus as of the Bible.
      " Please try to understand Islam a little better before you go around bashing the Religion." Shame on you, I did not and do not desire to bash anyones religion. You added, "I do not hate Jews or Christians." No but the Islamic banner flies, death to all Jews and infidels.
      I'll tell you what I find interesting...Sura3.vers 28 invites Muslims not to be friends with the infidel except as deception, always with the end goal of converting, subduing or destroying him. Isn't it also interesting that the Dead Sea Scrolls are the oldest manuscript found and it preceives the Qur'an by 600 years. Can you explain why the Qur'an which came 600 years later would have basically the same teachings about Abraham, and the Lord Jesus Christ?

      September 8, 2011 at 2:37 am |
    • bint

      Peace, sorry I wrote something and for some reason it did not get posted. Im not paying attention to the ignorant comments, however; Im sorry for your loss, however if you want to come and hear me say it to your face it is not a problem. Im also using my rights to write what I want to say. Sorry if it angers you, but it is how I feel. While you were off defending a pointless war, you should of taken that money and helped the children around the world, and educate people. Thank you all, Im done and out.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • tucsonmam

      yes, Bint..." done and out"... so easy... by the way, why should we blame Occident for starved countries ? why always implicate Occident when it comes to give money for hungry, shelters, health cares, people safety ? where is the Orient money ? why Arabians countries don't get involved to help their OWN citizens ? why, should we feel guilty for the muslims countries chaos between themselves ? why, Occidentals Presidents should be responsible for the mess the Orientals Leaders are doing ? come on... Red Cross, Human Rights, Doctors without borders : sounds familiars to you ? are they arabians organizations ? Enough is enough.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”You can believe whatever you want, but don't insult those that died on that day for the hollowness of religion.”

      They are not let representation from First Responders Tally, so tell me I guess their presence would be an insult as well to those who died? 🙁

      September 8, 2011 at 3:41 am |
    • Clarify

      "Actually, were you to say that to my face, you'd be in the hospital in critical condition."

      Who were you addressing there, sir?

      So freedom of speech for all, except when they talk to you, right? You do know that threats of physical violence and inflicting bodily injury are illegal, don't you?

      September 8, 2011 at 3:54 am |
    • John Richardson

      Wzrd1 is the sort of abomination we get when we ask people to defend the consti-tution who don't even begin to understand it.

      September 8, 2011 at 9:52 am |
    • Peace2All


      No... it wasn't me. It was -Wizard1 that made that particular posting to you.

      I am more interested in the last set of questions that I posed to you.


      September 8, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • J.W

      I do not really understand why people sign up to join the military and then complain because they have to go to war. Just do not join the military if that isnt what you want to do.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mark, I have no idea what you mean about first responders. All I know is that many people of many different faiths died that day, including several innocent muslims, one of them a police cadet. I find it hollow faith to force any religion into any secular ceremony. You can pray when you wishl. I'm sure that many who attend the event will do exactly that. Is your faith so feeble that you need a great show of it in order to continue believing? The individuals who died as human beings. Why not remember that which unites instead of that which divides?

      September 8, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”The individuals who died as human beings. Why not remember that which unites instead of that which divides?”

      Tally, the only problem with that is what I mentioned before. You declare that leaders of Faith are what you feel keep us apart. This is because as an Atheist you have that grudge towards the people of Faith. Naturally, there will be families there who harbor a deep grudge against any one of Middle Eastern decent due to the attacks. Would you feel them saying that they do not want any such persons that “looked” like or shared the same cultural heritage, should not attend.

      Tally, to you it is the people of Faith who are tearing the country apart. I have relatives that are so Black Pride in their thoughts that they felt that White's should be barred from the Martin Luther King memorial event. They feel this way because if White Americans had of treated African Americans as equals then King would not have had to become a leader for the cause and then he would not have been shot dead by a White man. So, to them, any White person has not right and should be ashamed to go to the King memorial.

      To them Tally, they focus on what their hate tells them to focus on and then they attempt to justify their hatred around it. You are doing the exact same thing. Everyone knows how and why the attacks happened the same way that folks know why Martin Luther King was assassinated. What you and my relatives desire is to gain and unite more to think like yourselves by wishing the only representation, at the event, to be the negative image of that group or segment of society.

      To them, they want a memorial filled with African Americans so they can just show images of police beating protesters, King in Jail, images of the klan and finally of King shot on the balcony. For you, it will be pictures of the planes hitting the tower with some twisted Muslims yelling Allahu Akbar.

      What unites us in this diverse society Tally? If you exclude or attempt to silence those of Faith, you have insulted a segment of society. If we included the leaders of Faith, then we insult the Atheist in society. We then find ourselves questioning or stating … “oh no, why should they feel insulted”, as if we know better about them than do themselves.

      >>>”Mark, I have no idea what you mean about first responders.”

      Sigh Tally ….. again, try to not focus on what's most important to you and your hate. From CNN.

      “The first responders are not invited to this year's September 11 memorial ceremony at ground zero, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office confirmed Monday.”


      September 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Mark, I don't hate religion, any more than I hate Greek mythology. I hate what people do in the name of their religion, including trying to force it into situations where it serves no purpose, and could possible be used to sow discord. If you are offended by a secular event, I am sure you can find an event at your local church to attend. However it sounds like you are more interested in spotlighting your religion than you are in quiet prayer.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • fred

      Thank you for carrying the torch of Nero though the night and into the wee hours of the morning. You are either on the grave yard shift for CNN or out to burn Christ out of the pages of history.
      Christianity is the the foundation of our Western Society and remains well rooted. You want to stamp out 20 centuries of knowledge and history for some unknown reason. On the one hand in America I see the push to celebrate publicly African History, Gay Pride, etc. yet Christianity is to be kept in the dark closets of those Neandrathal religeous zealots.

      September 9, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • tallulah13

      Nice over-reaction and false accusation, fred. It sounds to me like you would elevate your personal belief over all others, in complete defiance of the Consti.tution. As an American, I oppose that. I have no problem with people worshiping what ever god they choose, as long as they keep it out of legal and government policy.

      You christians are very vain. I ask for proof, you accuse me of hating you. I ask you to stay out of our secular government, you accuse me of hating you. I don't believe every word you say, you accuse me of hating you. The list goes on. I don't hate you, but I sure hate the way some christians use their faith to offend or hurt others. I sure hate the way that some christians try to rewrite history instead of learning from it. I sure hate the way some christians deny what is factual and verifiable because it conflicts with what they believe.

      September 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • fred

      Think about it, you say I should keep my beliefs out of public view, out of government, out of our laws and out of my community? What? In short Christians need to stay hidden in caves and swallow whatever greedy currupt politicians shove our way.............that is just great. Think about it. Now I tell you the truth we understand secular society will trash Christians and continue to do so. That Bible you call a lie warned Christians this is what will happen to them and low and behold even Tallulah jumps in to prove the Bible once again speaks the truth.

      You said:"You christians are very vain."
      Well we are not supposed to be but we do slip up on occassion.

      You said:" I sure hate the way some christians use their faith to offend or hurt others.
      Tallulah, some Muslims also hit us on 911. But, I agree with you offending and hurting is not right.

      You said: I sure hate the way that some christians try to rewrite history instead of learning from it.
      There is a lot of rewriting of history going on these days. Every one seems to have an agenda, it is not just Christians that rewrite history.

      You said: "I sure hate the way some christians deny what is factual and verifiable"
      The vast majority of Christians pretty much follow the science just like you do. The extremes on this site are on both sides of the truth twisting game. A good example is that most historians believe Jesus is a real historical figure. As a matter of fact they will tell you there is more acceptable evidence for Jesus than there is for Alexander the Great. Do you hear anyone on this site moaning that Alexander was a myth?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fred, you can worship as you want, but you may not use your faith as a reason for creating laws that steal the rights of others. You may not use the bible as an excuse to force your presence where it is not invited, although christians are notorious for taking advantage of the courtesy of others and inflicting their beliefs upon them.

      There is no proof of your god, no proof that your bible is anything more than a collection of bronze age fables, therefore it should not be granted any legal standing or special rights.

      Alexander the Great has plenty of archeological evidence, including several cities that bear his name and the name of things he treasured, like his horse. There are coins dating from his lifetime with his image on it, and a stone tablet upon which the Persians described one of the major battles in which Alexander defeated their army. There is a very good chance that the tomb of Alexander's father, Philip II has been found. It's possible it is another of Phillip's sons but the damage to the remains match the injuries that were recounted in histories, most notably, a disfigured eye socket - Phillip lost his eye to an arrow in battle. And let us never forget Alexandria. It was founded by Alexander the Great, and he gave it his own name. If someone else had founded it, we would know his name instead. Ptolemy was one of Alexanders' companions, and after Alexander's death, he took rule of Egypt. If you've ever wondered why Cleopatra was called "Last of the Ptolemies", it was because she was the final descendant in a dynasty created by the conquest of Alexander.

      So you see, there is ample evidence of the life of Alexander. What proof do you have of Jesus?

      September 12, 2011 at 2:06 am |
    • Flash

      I answered this yesterday... reprinting for you:

      You know, it doesn't really matter if Alexander the Great existed, or if the legends concerning him are true (except to history purists). No-one is propounding that Alexander was/is "God", or that we must all live our lives according to something he 'might' have said. If any wisdom or war strategy attributed to Alexander has been proven to be effective in other situations, fine, but that's all.

      September 12, 2011 at 2:21 am |
    • fred

      >” You may not use the bible as an excuse to force your presence where it is not invited”
      Sorry, but remember how the Greeks would abuse young boys and it was accepted in society? Thank God the Christians stepped in. Christians tried to keep por-nog-raphy that exploits women and leads to debasing others out of homes, we lost. America is the largest producer of po-rno-graphy in the word because one man Bill Clinton shut down prosecutions against po-rn.
      >”there is plenty of archeological evidence for Alexander”
      No, there is not. They say there is but it is buried deep under the town and they cannot get to it. The writings are from contemporaries that did not know him. I am only saying that to be fair you must use the same rules to justify Alexander the Great as you do Jesus and in doing so must accept both or reject both. I recognize scholars question Alexander’s legends as myth as they do Jesus. Just be fair.
      >“what proof of Jesus do you have”
      Ossuary with the ancient Aramaic words inscribed on the limestone box state that it belonged to "James, son of
      Joseph, brother of Jesus.

      Josephus a court historian in AD 93: "brought before them a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ," " At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive".

      PLINIUS SECUNDUS was the governor of Bithynia 112AD regarding Christian loyalty to Christ even when it cost them their lives. Pliny's letter states: In the meantime, the method I have observed towards those who have been denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were in fact Christians; if they confessed it, I repeated the question twice, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed.
      CORNELIUS TACITUS governor of Asia in AD116 Wrote; Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a clas-s hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate,
      We are lucky to have that much as bad things happened to those that said Jesus was the Christ.

      Many names and faces of the Gospels have now been proved by arceologists (locations, names, pools etc)
      Let me know if you need lists.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • fred

      It matters a lot because the principles of God apply today whether you believe in God or not. Forget all the smoke screen and distraction. I did not believe God existed. God came into my life and I personally saw great change all around. What once was foolishness opened up like a treasure chest. An entire existance / way of life / hope came into focus. That has not only happened to me I then personally witnessed it happening to people all around.

      September 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  6. Carole Clarke

    If you invite clergy then someone just might take offense at a Muslim imam being up there and it could get ugly. I would choose just one clergyman. The Chaplain of the Senate or Billy Graham if he's up to it. Someone, like Caesar's wife, who is above reproach.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • tallulah13

      Yet innocent muslims died that day, including a police cadet and a woman who was seven months pregnant. No single religion should be held above all others at a memorial for people who were murdered because of fanatical religion. Either all faiths are represented or none at all. It's called respect, and a surprising amount of those who call themselves christian apparently have no clue about it.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Wzrd1

      EVERY faith espoused by the victims or their families should be represented, by THEIR choice, not by Hitleresque Bloomberg.
      Honestly, if I had a time machine, I'd personally kidnap him and drop him off at the height of the concentration camp incinerations, making sure he was at the head of the line and missing a tongue (lest he prophesy).
      A greater traitor to the const i tution, I've NEVER found in any position of power.
      He has attacked the fourth amendment successfully. He has attacked the second amendment, with mixed success. He now attacks the very FIRST amendment.
      Yet, in violation of his oath of office, he manages to retain power.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:22 am |
  7. apostate

    Without religion the twin towers would still be standing.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Wzrd1

      You're right. Effective immediately, there shall be NO first amendment at all.
      Religion can be outlawed, state by state or official religions assigned.
      And you may NOT speak or write the written word at all, without federal permission beforehand, with all words vetted.
      Act outside the law and it is mandatory life in prison with no possibility of parole.
      The press shall submit to the same scheme, to be fair.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  8. Terry T

    Excellent. It is not a religious event and has no need of any religious affiliation.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:40 am |
    • Wzrd1

      And to hell with any family member who WANTS their faith represented in support of their grief.
      Bulldoze the thing and be done with it. It's a stain and insult to this nation and her const i tution.
      And since the first amendment AND second amendment are not permitted in NYC, the state shall be offered two options: Force that scofflaw city into compliance with federal law OR be removed from the union.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  9. brown

    Keep that clergy filth away from this sacred place.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:35 am |
  10. Carla

    America did not exist without religion(Christianity). Americans never study history of any country including their own. They just watch the Hollywood movies, Disneys, and comedies all day long. Americans are 100 years behind the Russians regarding the lessons and experiences on atheism.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:24 am |
    • Wzrd1

      You're absolutely right! Why, we'd not be a NATION today if people didn't move here for the ability to freely practice their religion. It'd still be wild country, still in possession of the natives.
      DO read your own NATION'S history.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:19 am |
    • Caleb

      I find your line about religion(Christianity) humorous, last time I checked our country was founded by more than Christians, but hey its just history. Religion may not make sense to you but dismissing something just because you don't understand/ don't want to understand doesn't take away the validity of belief that people have in their chosen faith. And as far as Russian Atheism, being 100 years ahead of the US, well lets just say you fail at history, for 60 years Russians had no choice but Atheism seeing how it was seen as unpatriotic/treasonous to put anything above party and country. But hey if you want to be ruled by a murderous dictatorship be my guest and move to any one you like, I am sure they could find something to imprison you for, like I don't know speaking out against something like religion. Good luck with history.
      P.S. you might try actually catching up on your info though. ,-|– 🙂

      September 8, 2011 at 1:36 am |
    • tallulah13

      Oh, poor Carla isn't quite right in the head and has confused what she thinks with reality. She's annoying, but you kind of have to feel sorry for her.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Wzrd1

      tallulah13, indeed, I recall a vigorous debate about permitting Jews to vote in Boston. The end result, which guided the formation of our CURRENT NATION was, they were permitted to, along with any other faith.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:31 am |
  11. letsgetwierd

    Religion is to blame for this tragedy. We'd all be better off living as if this life is the only one we'll ever have.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  12. Paul Willson

    Which religous leaders should be there RC Archbishop of NY, Episcopal Bishop of NY, Senior Protestant pastor, senior Rabbi NYC , senior Iman NY . Excluding religous from this memorial is an insult to the people we are honoring.
    And if no religous leader why POTUS he could go to the Natyional Catherdhal service.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Paul, I was with you until you wanted to deny the POTUS his first amendment rights.
      BUT, those faiths of the victims families should be present, to support said families at a hallmark year of their grief.
      As far as I am concerned, the STATE of New York should lose ALL federal monies for all federal programs, to include FEMA disaster relief, since said state cannot maintain obedience to the Const i tution of the United States of America.
      Tories! NEVER should have let them join the union!

      September 8, 2011 at 1:22 am |
    • Know What


      I don't think that there is anything in that amendment which declares that everyone must be provided with a podium, a microphone and a loudspeaker.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:42 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Know What, said podium, microphone, amplifier and speaker are normally used in civil function, hence it is protected.
      Per the SCOTUS in its FIRST TERM.
      So, you recall incorrectly, in your immaturity.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:32 am |
  13. Trent

    Religion was already involved in 9/11. We'd all be better off if everyone mentally got themselves out of the stone age and into the modern world where we have the technology to show religion to be a sham.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm |
    • J.W

      Oh so there is some sort of machine that disproves religion now? I didnt know that.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Do we or do we not have a first amendment that is being blatantly violated?
      If we don't, let's repeal ALL of it. Free speech too. Free press too.
      I'd rather repeal EVERY amendment before even ONE is permitted to be commonly violated.
      For then, for convenience, every OTHER right can be arbitrarily violated.
      So, we accept the always acceptable slippery slope argument or we all HAIL BIG BROTHER!
      Choose well, but this time, choose with wisdom.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • HotAirAce

      No one's first amendment rights are being violates. These rights do not include a right for any individual cult member or their shaman to be part of any/every civic event.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:43 am |
  14. alice

    Religion!!!!! Realy people!! A Priest, A Rabi, and whatever the dead believed in should be represented. The MUSLIMS CAN GO TO HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 7, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Quite a few of the dead were Muslim.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • Meghan

      You're an embarrassment, Alice. To America, to democracy, to anyone affected by 9/11 personally (yours truly, a proud New Yorker) and ABSOLUTELY you are an embarrassment to religion. It's been 10 years and clearly you know how to read, so if NOTHING else, in visiting CNN.com every now and then during those 10 years, you should have learned that Muslims are not to blame for 9/11. Radical jihadists were. It would be like saying all Christians are Snake-Handling Pentecostals or, for that matter, whatever Rick Perry believes in, since God speaks to him directly "in his mind". Get over yourself, get a grip and bone up on your history. And this time, pay attention.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Wzrd1

      So, our Bill of Rights only applies to SOME!
      OK, *I* have rights. You will be summarily executed for any infraction of ANY law.
      Since only SOME have rights. I've paid for my rights in the blood of buddies and quite a few injuries.
      YOU, obviously, have not. Otherwise, you'd want to fight for the rights of ALL.
      Quite a few Muslims died on 9/11, but you'd remove THEIR rights.
      Just like Hitler.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Shame on you, alice. Among the dead was a muslim police cadet. You don't deserve to be an American if you can't accept faiths other than your own. You are just as hateful as the fanatics that caused 9/11.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"you don't deserve to be an American if you can't accept faiths other than your own. "

      Or if you can not accept others who "are" of Faith or "not" of Faith 😀

      September 8, 2011 at 2:31 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mark, I am absolutely fine with people having the religion of their choice. But when they use that religion to infringe upon the rights of others, I will most certainly protest, and when they present their religion as fact, I will argue. I have a voice. I will use it.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I will argue. I have a voice. I will use it.”

      Now I will say another Stereotypical line ….. Yes Tally, and I will defend your right to do so...

      The problem you have is where do we say something is infringing upon the rights of others. Remember the schools valedictorian speech. The argument came down to some Atheist saying that it was infringing on the rights of those students who were not of Faith. Those of Faith fired back that if they censored her speech than they were infringing on her right to speak.

      I personally do not have a issue with folks on either side “voicing” their opinions. There have been a few very cool Atheist that have come here and had very respectful dialogue. As you know there have been some Atheist that they just come to insult and sadly wish all people of Faith dead. Goodness, look at it, even on this page someone hoped that others would just kill themselves.

      The infringing on others is American politics 101 Tally. I do not smoke but I saw that the price for a carton of cigarettes is over $60.00. I remember when they were in the $20s and I am not old at all. Why are they that high, because some group see that people are adults and making a decision that they feel is the wrong one.... so the government will punish them for it.

      The list goes on and on. Have too fancy a car in some states … oh no, we must add a luxury tax on your purchase.

      You are worrying about infringements on one side where the folks in Washington have all of us in their sights.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • tallulah13

      Mark, you really, really think that the US is ready for a muslim cleric to speak at a ceremony dedicated to lives lost on 9/11? Do you really think that there won't be protests and hatred? Do you really want a day of remembrance and unity to be remembered for that kind of division? Yet innocent muslims died, on planes and in the Towers. Are you saying that they should not be included?

      People like you amaze me. You are so focused on what you want you fail to see what is fair. I am not protesting the inclusion of religion upon this event because I'm an atheist. If every person who died that day was a christian, I'd say go for it. But this was something that needs to be bigger than religion. It needs to be about what it means to live in a society that accepts people of all faiths and nationality, because America is about more than religion. It's about being human. It's about recognizing the humanity of our fellow citizens. If you don't get that, then there is no hope for you.

      September 8, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • tallulah13

      By the way Mark, the price of cigarettes isn't just tallied in the price on the carton. There are health issues that go along with it, and because many smokers are low income, there are a certain amount of smokers who depend on the government for heath care, for themselves and for the family members who suffer the effects of second hand smoke.

      I lost two much-loved family members to lung cancer. Both were smokers (though one quit several years before, after starting to develop emphysema). I grew up in a house of smokers and now deal with chronic asthma. It costs me money to continue breathing. When I accidentally get a lungful of someone else's smoke (which happens more often than I like, because I don't live in a vacuum) it triggers an attack, causing me to use the drugs I must pay for, costing me money with their habit. Multiply this issue by the number of asthmatics in the world. Once again, the cost of cigarettes goes beyond the cost on the carton

      The price of cigarettes is much higher than the cost on the carton. If someone chooses to pursue a deadly habit, they can pay for it.

      September 8, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • J.W

      I like cigarettes but I do not want to deal with any health problems though. I do agree with tallulah. If you smoke you should not depend on others to support your health, and you should be careful not to harm anyone else.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  15. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Even while being a born Hindu but a practicing aethiest, I feel we are doing a great disservice to fellow Americans by not having Clergy services at the hallowed site.

    It would have been much better had we performed a true interfaith service representing all the religions of the WTC victims incl. Islam......while keeping the radical IMAM RAUF out of the celebrations!

    September 7, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I disagree. I believe that this is an event caused by murder in the name of religion. I believe that the best way we can respect those who were lost that day is to leave religion out of it altogether. Let us remember the people, not their murderers.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”I believe that this is an event caused by murder in the name of religion. “

      Then would you feel the same if we excluded, since Martin Luther King was assassinated by a white person in the name of White Power, that we exclude all whites from any event at the memorial.

      Or do we understand that just like it was not every white person that killed or wanted King killed, we show the same respect for those of Faith who did not commit 9/11?

      If you exclude one then you better exclude for all to be fair.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • sonic10158

      this was done by EXTREMISTS. Not all religions are murderous. only extremists in religions (which make up a TINY portion of religious people), whether it be extremism in Islam, Christianity, Judaism, etc.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Actually, from my conversations via e-mail, Rauf wouldn't attend, as it would detract from the solemn occasion with political nonsense.
      THAT said, I'd not represent EVERY faith.
      Only those faiths that were reflected by the victims and their families. Once upon a time, the USSA was the USA and we had a sense of fair play, support for grieving widows, widowers and children.
      Now, we have a sense of politics and politicians have priority over clergy and first responders families who died WITH the victims families.
      And no, I don't mean political correctness, THAT term is used for a will to disobey the const i tution. A DANGEROUS concept for this nation.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • tallulah13

      Absolutely. If all religions are not represented equally, then none should. Don't insult the dead by making this about the selfishness of personal faith.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:11 am |
  16. Reality

    To start the solemn occasion, they should project the following statement on the overhead screens for all the global citizens who are watching:----------------




    Added details upon request.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tom

      Hey, Bub. Please go troll somewhere else. You have absolutely nothing to offer here.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm |
    • Unbelievable

      With all of those Billions of people believing in "God" or something greater than themselves, you choose to not believe in anything? I would think to a scientific mind such as yours, even you would have to agree the odds of you being correct are not in your favor. Just saying....

      September 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "With all of those Billions of people believing in "God" or something greater than themselves, you choose to not believe in anything? I would think to a scientific mind such as yours, even you would have to agree the odds of you being correct are not in your favor. Just saying...."
      There was a time when virtually everyone knew that the Earth was flat. Everyone was convinced the Sun and Moon revolved around the Earth. There is no strength in numbers when it comes to delusions.

      Also, which god you believe in matters. They're a egotistic bunch. Believe in the wrong one, and you'll be spending eternity roasting (or be subjected to some other form of torture). Your odds aren't any better than anyone else's.

      There are approximately 34,000 different christian sects, cults and denominations. They all believe differently. They can't all be right, but they can very well be all wrong.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:56 pm |
    • John Richardson

      @Unbelievable This isn't an election. You can't vote some abstract divinity, let alone some particular god, into being. Any non-numbskull could tell you that. And you think that your position would appeal to someone of a scientific mindset? Wow, what you don't understand about science just might be more than what you don't understand about theology and ontology. And that's saying something.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Peace2All


      With all of those Billions of people believing in "God" or something greater than themselves, you choose to not believe in anything? I would think to a scientific mind such as yours, even you would have to agree the odds of you being correct are not in your favor. Just saying.... "

      Your assertion is a version of "argumentum ad populum" (argument by majority). Just because a certain 'majority' believes, thinks, acts,etc... a certain way doesn't necessarily mean it is so.

      The poster @LinCA gave a fine rebut-tal to your posting as well.



      September 8, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>"There is no strength in numbers when it comes to delusions."

      Sadly, tell that to the Jews in Germany during World War II.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:25 am |
    • John Richardson

      Good point, Mark. There IS strength in numbers for the deluded. But that doesn't mean they aren't deluded, which is the topic under discussion right now.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • Jonathan Ferrier

      What reality are you living in? Certainly not one that includes history as one of it's disciplines. Sounds like you a part of deconstructing anything that you cannot verify today in a lab. What kind of reality is that? Do you think that you represent even 1/4 of the families that have been effected by this tragedy? Let hope ring for in the streets of New York. Let peace reign down on the hearts of those whose minds are littered with haunted memories. Let love find it's place in the remembering. Let God in, because he's the source of all three.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:31 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Ferrier (sigh) Once again, not inviting the clergy to help LEAD the ceremony in public prayer does not mean that people can't bring god to the ceremony with them and pray in silence at the appointed times, let alone that other people can't hold whatever sorts of alternative commemorations they choose. Come down off that pink cloud of muddle-headed bliss you seem to be floating on and TRY to understand what the issues are and are not.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:42 am |
    • LinCA

      @Mark from Middle River

      While the deluded may gain strength in numbers, their delusions garner no strength from those numbers.

      Just because the Nazis had sufficient numbers to act on their delusion doesn't mean it was the right thing to do.

      There are hundreds of millions of smokers in the world. That doesn't make it a healthy habit. I don't smoke, and I prefer to not be exposed to too much second hand smoke. Same with religion.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:43 am |
    • Unbelievable

      @ LINCA

      I agree that, " There is no strength in numbers when it comes to delusions". I also agree that, " which God you believe in also matters". Egotistical? Perhaps. Probably as bigoted as Aetheists, in my opinion. My offense was Reality's assertion that HIS beliefs should be projected on a screen for all to see. I find it quite arrogant.

      I think our viewpoints are not so different, albeit, we might just be standing on opposite ends of the spectrum. In an earlier post you stated:
      "Your religious freedom gives you the right to not engage in the behavior that your particular flavor of religion considers a “sin”. It does not give you the right to tell anyone else what to do, or not to do. Your religious freedom ends where that of anyone else begins."

      I too feel strongly about my personal religious convictions, yet practice tolerance, by allowing each person to decide their own beliefs.

      Whether beliefs are right or wrong, it is an individual choice. Just practice what you preach.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:02 am |
    • Colin


      "While the deluded may gain strength in numbers, their delusions garner no strength from those numbers."

      Elequoent comment

      September 8, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • Peace2All


      I understand a bit better from your response to -LinCA about where you were coming from.

      And, I would still just add that you may want to re-think your argument as you stated it(to Reality). It 'is' a version of (Proof by majority), when in fact, just "because" 'billions' have or do believe doesn't necessarily *mean* that there is a God... or your particular God.

      You seem to be a very thoughtful gentleman, and I'm guessing you could come up with a better response to -Reality, if his posting bothers you so much (IMHO).



      September 8, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Wzrd1

      OK, we get it. So, rather than repeal freedom of religion, we'll repeal the ENTIRE amendment and require government oversight for the press and free speech.
      I'm NOT religious at all. But, I'll injure ALL, when you injure SOME.
      We either have a first amendment or we have NO const i tution. ONE STATE is above the NATION or the NATION is above one little city.
      And compared to the nation, NYC *IS* little.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:41 am |
    • LinCA


      I stand by my statement from earlier when I said, "Your religious freedom gives you the right to not engage in the behavior that your particular flavor of religion considers a “sin”. It does not give you the right to tell anyone else what to do, or not to do. Your religious freedom ends where that of anyone else begins." (And I'm impressed that you found it so quickly. Your records must go back farther than mine.)

      But I also reserve the right to question, and poke fun at, what I consider irrational beliefs. That doesn't mean that I would try to deny you, or anyone else, the right to believe it. Nor would I expect you to not defend your, or counter my, position.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • tallulah13

      Unbelievable, truth isn't decided by belief. Otherwise, the world would be flat and American Idol would be the greatest show ever.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”truth isn't decided by belief.”

      To steal a bit from Braveheart.... the Truth is written by those that have hanged, not by those that have hung.

      >>>”Just because the Nazis had sufficient numbers to act on their delusion doesn't mean it was the right thing to do.”

      Again who decides what is right or wrong? The treaty of Treaty of Versailles was pretty brutal to Germany. What America did to the Native Americans and other minorities including the Irish was seen as “right”. The list of atrocities that have been deemed “right” in history are many. Sufficient numbers are not needed, sometimes all that is needed is one. From the Inquisitions to Blood Diamonds to why the world is attacking Libya for killing their own people but stand by while Syria does the same.

      And the greatest show ever was Dukes of Hazard followed closely by Little House on the Prairie and Chips. 🙂

      ..... naah ... the 1980s Thundercats 😀

      September 8, 2011 at 2:53 am |
    • Reality

      Some added details:

      The following are called the Infamous Angelic Cons:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
      Some added references to "tink-erbells".

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      September 8, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • Reality

      And still more details:

      September 8, 2011 at 8:07 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      September 8, 2011 at 8:08 am |
    • Reality

      And still more details:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      September 8, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Mark Your question suggests that you feel that if there isn't someone "in charge" of designating what is true and what is false, there IS no true or false. Nonsense. Putting someone in charge is one of the surer ways to see falsehood elevated to the status of "official truth". But the earth really isn't flat, no matter how many people used to believe (or how powerful some of those people were).

      September 8, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  17. Dennis

    If there is any place where religious leaders have nothing to offer, it is at ground zero. Religious leaders caused 9-11.

    September 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • sonic10158

      not true. Brainwashed extremists did this. big difference.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So it's okay if you insult the families of survivors by forcing religion into a ceremony that has already been declared secular? Sounds like a fanatic to me.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Since the first to die was both a First Responder and a Chaplin .... would you consider it fanatical that both the Faithful and the First Responders will not be there?

      September 8, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  18. paul1121

    Like it or not, this country was founded on Christian based beliefs; the majority of Americans are Christian to some degree or another. That does not discount the validity of other religions but I dont remember hearing about the Founding Father that was Hindu or Islamic. Thomas Jefferson had a personal copy of the Koran in his library, though. Not having the clergy or any religious figure or figures shows the decline in faith in America. Whether one believes in God, Allah, Jehova or a Pile of Sicks and Mud, I think having members of the religious community present and take part in the 9/11 would be more fitting to those who were murdered on that day.

    September 7, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
    • Really?

      Nice collection of half truths.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • paul1121

      Ok, Mr. Really?...pick it apart. You have facts, dont you?

      September 7, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The US was founded on the separation of church and state. Many of the more prominent Founding Fathers were deists or simply not very religious. They understood the dangers that a national religion posed to freedom and individual rights. By allowing all religions (and atheism and agnosticism) equal importance, we are insured that everyone can worship (or not) as they choose.

      If you go to this website, you'll find a comprehensive compilation of quotes from the Founding Fathers that show exactly what they thought of christianity:


      September 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Paul, not allowing clergy at a memorial for people of many faiths (including those who didn't believe at all) is the only fair way to proceed. If all the religions of those who died are not equally represented, none should be. As has mentioned many times, the tragedy of 911 was caused by people who believed that their faith was more important than the lives of innocents. Do you want religion to be held more important than the lives of those who were lost yet again?

      September 7, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • paul1121

      What I was saying was to "one degree or another". Seperation of church and state just meant that the Church has no say in government affairs, simply said without going into minute details.

      I see nothing wrong with someone or some people saying a prayer at the ceremony.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA


      I am Hindu and I largely agree with you that America should NOT diagress from its Christian roots even as maganimous Americans remain tolerant & welcoming of other faiths.

      And if you were not aware Thomas Jefferson kept a copy of the Koran not to learn about Tolerance & Peace but for the EXACT OPPOSITE REASONS, in that what makes the Koran not a peaceful text! Even President Obama in his effort to woo the Muslim world misleadingly portrayed Jefferson's Koran as a reminder of our Muslim heritage which was used by rep. Keith Ellison to take his oath of office.

      Here are some specifics:

      Jefferson’s introduction to Koranic theology came in 1786, when he and John Adams participated in negotiations with Tripoli’s ambassador to London, Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja.

      Pirates from North Africa’s Islamic states had been attacking merchant ships, and even small towns, all across the Mediterranean. Any “infidel,” or non-Muslim, unfortunate enough to be caught in one of these raids would be carried off to a life of slavery. Female captives were especially prized.

      In their report to the American Congress, Adams and Jefferson wrote that when they asked the Ambassador how he justified these attacks he cited the Koran. “The Ambassador answered us,” they wrote, “that it was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners.”

      There is a brief description of this meeting on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Barbary_War

      September 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So who gets to say that prayer? A christian? Were you aware that people of many religions died that day, including at least 31 innocent muslims, one of them a police cadet and one of them 7 months pregnant? What about them? Do you think they should allow a muslim cleric to participate, for their sakes?

      That is why there should not be a religious presence at the event: For the sake of decency and humanity and compassion. If all the lost are not equally represented, none should be.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "I see nothing wrong with someone or some people saying a prayer at the ceremony."
      There will be plenty of opportunity for everyone to say a prayer if they so choose. Nobody will be denied to pray. From the article: "This year's six moments of silence allow every individual a time for personal and religious introspection"

      They just won't be force-fed someone else's delusions.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • readabook

      Actually no... This country doesn't have a main religion and the majority of the founding fathers were atheists or agnostic...

      September 7, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Is it really so hard for people to see the difference between allowing people to pray, meditate or daydream as they choose during moments of silence vs having a representative of one or a few faiths LEAD the assembled in prayer? People, this is just plain IDIOCY. You can pray all you want. Just don't FORCE people, many of whom are NOT fellow believers, to stand or sit with heads bowed as you give your own sectarian harangue.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Kyle

      This country was founded by slave owners.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
    • J.W

      That is why I like my idea that there could be an atheist speaker too.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:53 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Ok, that does it. I hereby DEMAND that an agnostically tinged neo-animist be allowed to speak at the ceremony!!!!!!!!

      September 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree John. Whoever is willing to do it I say we should let them.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:59 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Founding Fathers were deists or simply not very religious. ...If you go to this website, you'll find a comprehensive compilation of quotes from the Founding Fathers that show exactly what they thought of christianity: http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html”

      My dear Tally. I went to your linked site and according to it the Deist were:

      John Adams
      Benjamin Franklin
      Alexander Hamilton
      John Jay
      Thomas Jefferson ...(who was a Deacon in his Church)
      James Madison
      George Washington

      The first problem I had was that I knew there were 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence .

      Now if you go to this site : http://www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html

      Then go down to “Religious Affiliation of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence”

      September 8, 2011 at 12:02 am |
    • John Richardson

      @J.W How about we just let everyone speak their thoughts privately or, if they must have a public, do it some place like Belief Blog, where all points of view are welcome. Letting anyone who wants to speak speak leads to such spectacles of longwinded tedium as the Democratic National Convention, and we wouldn't wish THAT on the families and friends of those who died, now would we? That would compound the misery unconscionably ...

      September 8, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      John, ever wonder how they got to that Apple 1984 commercial? Are we heading to a society where since someone will always be offended by another's words, beliefs, art, music, even dance that all will soon be outlawed?

      The question is this John, it was reported that ones representing First Responders will not be allowed on stage as well. …. funny isn't it.... if this is true then who will be on the stage?..... politicians. The very people who want us, the American society, to put our trust in THEIR HANDS and their hands only.

      Why would they want religious leaders and First Responders to have a place to steal their glory ….

      September 8, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • John Richardson

      Anyone who can come away from the writings of such true leaders of the American experiment as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and say that they were simply Christians and leave it at that is simply not getting it.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • John Richardson

      @Mark A better question: why should this solemn, even somber remembrance be ANYONE'S "glory"? If people can't grow the f*** up, maybe we'd be better off with NO ceremony.

      As for the 1984 commercial, it was a direct reference to Orwell's 1984, which was about a society run by a government that did nothing BUT cram its own version of The Truth down everyone's throat. That is precisely what some of us are objecting to. No religion has the right to hijack these sorts of public events for their sectarian purposes. And the only people acting all offended right now are the clergy and some of their supporters.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • dieshard

      NO muzzies should be allowed. BAN yes BAN the muzzies keep their hate away!!!!

      September 8, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Peace2All

      I'm with @John Richardson here. I think that if someone wants to pray, meditate, center themselves, etc... no one is stopping you. I'm sure that a variety of religious beliefs will be represented there at the ceremony, and across the U.S. and the world... saying their prayers... or not.



      September 8, 2011 at 12:52 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”@Mark A better question: why should this solemn, even somber remembrance be ANYONE'S "glory"? If people can't grow the f*** up, maybe we'd be better off with NO ceremony”

      John that is what I am aiming at. Do you remember the statue that they wanted to make of the three white firefighters. Because they were all three white it was a problem for the racial diversity crowd. Then because they were all three men, the feminist got mad. After all of that they decided to just drop the project.

      My point is that we are rapidly becoming the society in the 1984 commercial. You are objecting to religion being crammed down your throat but at the same time those of Faith are saying that such is cramming Atheism down theirs. To be fair and foreshadowing, I can see a time when all events and such will be vetted and the gray world of everyone looking, acting, and believing the same will be upon us.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Mark from Middle River

      " I can see a time when all events and such will be vetted and the gray world of everyone looking, acting, and believing the same will be upon us. "

      Man, I hope that you are wrong on that one.

      Hope that you are doing well, brother...



      September 8, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • tallulah13

      So Mark, can you name those other signers off the top of your head? The men that framed this nation were those that you named. These are the ones who decided the nature of our government. Please read some history.

      September 8, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”So Mark, can you name those other signers off the top of your head? “

      Well, since I do live in one of the original 13, I knew you were wrong because I knew our three where religious. But, I do know enough that Paine was not 🙂

      But, please visit the site....it list all 56.... you know all that signed their lives and fortunes to the creation of this country.

      Also, how many revisions were made from Jefferson's ….. I mean Deacon Thomas Jefferson's original text? Please go rent a movie Tally, go read a book, go and find a argument.... I shot too many holes in this one. According to my site, you only had two Deist and one of them was Deacon at his church.

      Peace, I am very fine, doing well and rockin' and rollin'

      September 8, 2011 at 2:40 am |
    • John Richardson

      Mark, your 1984 metaphor is still 180 degrees wrong. It may be unfortunate that all the whining makes putting up a commemorative statue seem not worth the bother, but that isn't even remotely like the case of a single ideology cramming itself down everyone's throat totally heedless of what anyone thinks, indeed making thinking for oneself and having a dissenting opinion a "thought crime". Endless debate may be tedious and frustrating at times, but it is much to be preferred to having certain sectors presume some sort of majoritarian ent=itlement to roll over everyone else's opinion, let alone make holding a contrary view a punishable crime. Christians and men and white people are indeed three groups who have to get over their sense of being the "true" citizens of this country, everyone else being defined in degrees of deviation from the white male christian "ideal". There's been progress, but not enough. And it seems frankly that a lot Christians are having an especially hard time understanding that they and their faith aren't "in charge" of the "spiritual welfare" of the whole country, or even any part of it EXCEPT the members of whatever specific denomination they represent.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:12 am |
  19. Public Enemy Number 2

    If it's paid for by the government, religion should stay away. Why can't people pray to their God/god(s) on their own?

    September 7, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
  20. Carla

    Americans are so fortunate that the Cuban atheists have no nukes to threat America, although it could have given the godless Americans a little more piety than now. Atheism in peace time = stupidity from boredom

    September 7, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Really?

      Carla, free your mind from the religious binds that have been forced upon you since birth. Religion is unwarranted outside of your churches, yet the religious continually shove their belief on those around them regardless of whether it was asked for or not. You are the blind attempting to lead the seeing with fear and guilt. Seek help.

      September 7, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Carla would have nothing if she didn't have religion. That's why she lies and hates to defend it.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • *frank*

      When Carla's not stinking up her neighborhood cooking fish, she's stinking up the interweb with sulfurous and fetid lobotomized babblings.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
    • sonic10158

      @really? Atheists do the EXACT same thing.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
    • Kyle

      I bet carla doesn't have a job, and she prays to some god and demands that he give her money to buy crap with. I bet she prays for her favorite sports team as well.

      September 7, 2011 at 11:50 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.