In a few short days, Americans will be drawn together to remember those who were lost ten years ago on September 11, 2001. It is a day in which we were all shaken to the core. It is also a day when countless leaders, both religious and political, called on all of us to turn to God in prayer. It was through these prayers that we were comforted as we sought strength to go on. My how times have changed.
First, there is New York City and the actions of Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As reported by Newsmax.com, Bloomberg is refusing to "allow members of the clergy to play a role in the city's commemoration of the tenth anniversary of 9/11."
"This is America, and to have a memorial service where there's no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me," said Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor under Bloomberg's predecessor Rudy Giuliani, who organized a nationally televised interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium in the days after the 2001 attacks.
"I feel like America has lost its way," added Washington. "I am very upset about it. This is crazy."
New York City Council member Fernando Cabrera, a pastor in the Bronx, said faith was one of the "pillars that carried us through" the days after the attacks and called religious leaders "the spiritual and emotional backbone."
In a story covered by the Culture and Media Institute, reporter Paul Wilson notes that the banning of religious participation at the New York 9/11 memorial services are being ignored by the major media networks.
Since the Wall Street Journal first reported on the exclusion of religion from the ceremony on August 24, ABC, CBS, and NBC have run 71 segments (Nexis searches of 9/11 OR September 11 from August 24 to September 4) mentioning 9/11. Not one of them mentioned the controversy over the absence of religious participation at the Ground Zero ceremony on 9/11.
The networks' silence is all the more deafening since plenty of major news outlets have covered the exclusion of religion from the ceremony. Fox News Channel covered the controversy during numerous segments - The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity, The Five, and Fox News Watch all produced segments on the issue. USA Today's editorial board also covered the debate on September 6. The Wall Street Journal, as previously noted, broke the story. The mainstream networks, however, remain mute.
Before you think that this omission is limited to New York, think again. As reported by FoxNews.com, in Washington, DC, a "weekend of religious-themed observances at Washington National Cathedral marking the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks will include a Buddhist nun and an Imam, but not an evangelical Christian."
"A Call to Compassion" will include an interfaith prayer vigil on Sept. 11. It will feature the dean of the Cathedral, the Bishop of Washington, a rabbi, Buddhist nun and incarnate lama, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician.
However, Southern Baptists, representing the nation's largest Protestant denomination, were not invited to participate - and neither were leaders from any evangelical Christian organization.
So... even when there is religion, there are only certain religions allowed.
Tony Perkins, who heads the Family Research Council, blasted the program as "clearly politically correct" and said "the lineup was better suited for the United Nations than the United States."
"There's no doubt that this is clearly politically correct," Perkins told Fox News Radio. "It is historically inaccurate that in times of need or mourning that Americans pray to the Hindu or Buddhist Gods or the God of Islam. America is overtly a Christian nation that prays to the Judeo-Christian God - and specifically to Jesus Christ."
So what is going on here? We have an event that actually brought the nation closer to God through prayer, and now we remember the events of that day by turning away from God?
I wonder who these political leaders will be turning to when the next attack comes.