Many of my readers will be very surprised to know that I, for once, agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg regarding his decision to bar “clergy” from participating in the tenth anniversary memorial of the September 11th attacks.
In the past, I found myself in total disagreement with Mayor Bloomberg on many issues; chief among them, his support of the building of the Cordoba Mosque at Ground Zero. Many people saw his unbridled support of that project as distasteful at best and expedient at worst. After all, the mayor is doing personal business in many Muslim countries, especially the rich Gulf states. Thus, at least for expediency’s sake, he had to support what many Americans consider to be a sign of triumphalism on the part of Islamists at the very site where 2,753 people, most of them our fellow citizens, died in the name of Islam.
But when it comes to not having any “clergy” at the tenth commemoration of that day of infamy, I believe Mayor Bloomberg did the right thing even though I am sure we see his decision from very different viewpoints. Most likely, his reason for barring “clergy” from the event is fear that he may offend one group or another.
However, the way I and many other faithful Christians see it is as an act of mercy – sparing us the spectacle of bundling all religions together as if they are worshipping one god or as if all these gods are equal. Indeed, Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s “Prayer for America” memorial service, held 12 days after the 9/11 attacks, was extremely painful for the faithful Christians who watched. It gave the impression that all gods are equal to the one true God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Every conceivable group, from Hindus, Buddhists and other non-monotheistic groups (unknown to most Americans) to different Muslim sects, Sikhs, Jewish groups, and Christian denominations of all stripes, was given an opportunity to “pray.” Tragically, every representative of a Christian denomination, but one, judiciously avoided mentioning the unmentionable – Jesus Christ – out of political correctness. There was only one elderly Armenian Orthodox bishop who dared to utter the name of our Savior, the Son of the living God.