By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is causing outrage by his decision to ban all clergy from the upcoming commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that religious leaders from across the city are calling on Mayor Bloomberg to reverse course on his decision not to offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
“This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me,” said Rudy Washington, deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration.
The blogosophere is also buzzing with criticism. “There are thousands of religious denominations in New York City,” writes a blogger at Globe Tribune.info.
“No one realistically expects them all to be represented in every public memorial. But some sort of acknowledgement that most New Yorkers turn to heaven in times of tribulation and inexplicable suffering is surely in order. There is still time to change course on his decision. Mayor Bloomberg should do so as quickly as possible.”
In an attempt to be “inclusive,” the mayor, who has been a vocal supporter of the controversial “Ground Zero Mosque,” has put together a ceremony consisting mostly of political figures. But even this has been carefully orchestrated. President Barack Obama will be in attendance, but other lawmakers were told their numbers would be restricted to just those representatives from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Lawmakers such as Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan) wanted the event open to all lawmakers because the event was a national rather than a regional tragedy.
Bloomberg has also been under attack for his decision to ban first responders – the cops, firefighters and rescue workers who were first on the scene 10 years ago – from taking part in the ceremony due to space and security concerns. They have been told that they will be invited back to the site at a later date for a special ceremony of their own – something that did not sit well with many of the brave men and women who risked their lives on that tragic day.
“To have a separate service on another day has no significance, no meaning,” David Jacobs of Queens, told the New York Daily News. Jacobs was one of the estimated 91,000 people who volunteered at the site sifting debris in the wake of the attack. “For many of us, we gave a lot at that site,” he said.
The families of the nearly 3,000 killed in the World Trade Center collapse received first priority for the event, which will have maximum security.
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