Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed. There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini — a U.S. citizen — captured by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard […]
This is a difficult week for millions of Americans. As the nation prepares to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the horrific attacks of 9/11, we know that this is a time of pain and suffering for thousands who lost family and friends that fateful day.
Unfortunately, Mayor Bloomberg still refuses to permit religious leaders to participate in a memorial ceremony at Ground Zero.
In an opinion editorial that is published in today’s USA Today, I write:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to invite clergy of any faith to commemorate the anniversary Sunday at Ground Zero is a mistake. The move is deeply offensive to the many Americans who find solace and healing in prayer. For many, 9/11 is not a distant memory. It’s still very real. Many face day-to-day struggles to cope with the loss of loved ones. . . .
The nation has a long and cherished history of prayer, from the first prayer in Congress in 1774 to the National Day of Prayer celebrated each year. Even the Supreme Court acknowledges our religious heritage. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it this way: “It is unsurprising that a nation founded by religious refugees and dedicated to religious freedom should find references to divinity in its symbols, songs, mottoes, and oaths.”
The complete opinion editorial in USA Today is posted here.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said it best when he recently stated that following 9/11, “Hundreds and thousands of families turned to God more than they had in the past.” Mayor Giuliani He is exactly right.
As you know, we’re preparing a letter to go to Mayor Bloomberg this week to change his mind – to clear the way for religious leaders to take part in the Ground Zero memorial ceremony. Thousands already have signed on. If you have not yet added your name to our letter, please take a moment now to do so. It is posted here.
The fact is there’s still time for Mayor Bloomberg to act. He should clear the way for clergy and religious leaders to participate — to pray for our nation, and to pray for those who are still suffering from the pain and loss of Sept. 11, 2001.