New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks to focus on the victims and their families — not on God or the heroes who rushed into the burning towers to save as many as they could.
“For many people, faith — regardless of which particular religion they subscribe to — was an important element in peoples’ ability to cope in the wake of the attacks,” observes Billy Hallowell, writing for the Blaze, a news website.
“The announcement drew particular outrage from Rudy Washington, who served as deputy mayor under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and who organized an interfaith service at Yankee Stadium following the attacks back in 2001. He told the Wall Street Journal:
“This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appear to be insanity to me. I feel like America has lost its way.”
The Christian Post reports that New York City Councilman Fernando Cabrera presented the Mayor with 62,000 gathered by the Family Research Council asking Bloomberg to change his mind on his ban of clergy, prayer and first-responders at the ceremonies. The Family Research Council’s Senior Legal Studies Fellow Cathy Ruse told the press:
“Perhaps for Mayor Bloomberg, God and faith do not mean much, but it is exceedingly tone deaf not to recognize their importance to most Americans.”
Rudy Giuliani, mayor at the time of the attacks, chided Bloomberg that “the microphones won’t melt.” Only 12 days after the Twin Towers were destroyed, Guiliani held a memorial service called “Prayer for America.” Similar faith-based services were held, as the Post reports, by House and Senate chaplains in Washington, D.C. following the attack on the Pentagon.
And many others remain baffled and offended by Bloomberg’s ungrateful attitude toward the Almighty and insensitivity to the beliefs of the majority of Americans. The Blaze reports:
New York City-based Christian leader Pastor Rick Del Rio shared his views on the clergy ban in an exclusive interview with the Blaze. Del Rio, who arrived at Ground Zero just minutes after the second tower collapsed, was an instrumental force in the days and months following the attacks.
He co-convened the Northeast Clergy Group / Ground Zero Clergy Task Force (NEC), an interdenominational coalition of regional ministers who counseled workers at Ground Zero and assisted in relief efforts. This year, his church is hosting an alternative prayer event called Reaching Out New York City on Saturday (the day before the anniversary). Below, see the trailer for Reaching Out:
Del Rio explained his frustrations with Bloomberg‘s refusal to include clergy in this year’s 9/11 tribute:
“I think the 10th anniversary is such a milestone. We should have gone to great measures to include all those who participated. I think it’s an affront to all those who are clergy or first responders who were [down there after 9/11].
It’s ridiculous. Its almost like [Bloomberg's] trying to re-write history. These were components that were invaluable to bringing the city back together.”