Twin Cities area religious leaders and other faithful are planning a number of services and ceremonies this weekend -- including a major event at the state capitol -- to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
But at this Sunday’s official ceremony at ground zero in New York, clergy will be noticably absent. And they’re not happy about it.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come under attack by some religious and political leaders for not including clergy members as speakers at the ceremony, according to The New York Times:
“Richard D. Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, which is the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, said in an interview that the planned ceremony only proved that New York was the “epicenter of secularism,” out of step with the rest of America.
“We’re not France,” he said. “Mr. Bloomberg is pretending we’re a secular society, and we are not.”
“Congressman Randy Forbes, a Republican representative from Virginia and a co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, sent Bloomberg a letter on behalf of the caucus members urging him to include prayer in the ceremony.
“At the same time, some evangelical Christian leaders said they were outraged that an interfaith prayer service planned by the Washington National Cathedral did not include a Southern Baptist or other evangelical minister.”
Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S. with over 16 million members.
What do you think? Should religious leaders be excluded from the ceremony at ground zero?