Should there be a religious element to New York City’s 9/11 commemoration on Sunday?
There won’t be, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered there be no clerics speaking at the event.
“It’s a civil ceremony. There are plenty of opportunities for people to have their religious ceremonies,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. “Some people don’t want to go to a religious ceremony with another religion. And the number of different religions in this city are really quite amazing.”
“It isn’t that you can’t pick and choose, you shouldn’t pick and choose,” Bloomberg said. “If you want to have a service for your religion, you can have it in your church or in a field, or whatever.”
Some people who want a religious overtone to the occasion say this iconic image of 9/11 alone justifies it:
It’s the image of Father Mychal Judge, whose body was pulled from the wreckage and carried to an altar of a nearby church.
But opponents say injecting religion also brings in the theological riff-raff.
Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who prompted international outrage by threatening to burn copies of the Quran last Sept. 11, has said he plans to show up at Ground Zero on Sunday at the same time as the services there to address “issues concerning Islam,” according to the Religion News Service.