Excluding Prayer at Ground Zero Service Promotes Religious Freedom

Posted: September 9, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Remember, it was someone's shitty religious views that got us here in the first place.

 

http://blog.heritage.org/2011/09/09/exclusion-of-prayer-at-911-service-ignores-role-of-religion-in-america/

Above we have a link to a blog article that claims the exclusion of clergy-led prayer at the 9/11 memorial service ignores the role of religion in America. Below is my response.

Bloomberg was absolutely right to not include a formal, clergy-led prayer at this event. This event will have several moments of silence (which is a great opportunity for the religious to bow their heads in prayer), and the families will be sharing remembrances that may or may not be spiritual in nature. This event is for families of people who were lost on 9/11. This is not a religious revival. This is not an event to appease christians and the religious right. This is not a chance for proselytizing. Keeping the government endorsement of religious views out of the memorial service does not in any way, shape, or form diminish religious freedom.

In fact, it promotes religious freedom. Here’s how: If any clergy walked up to the podium to offer prayer, what type of faith would be represented? I can tell you with 100% certainty that the faith represented would be christian. Also, the faith represented may or may not be catholic christian, baptist christian, episcopalian christian, or whatever other narrow brand of christianity you can think of. Do you think that all of the people who died in the attacks can be represented by one sectarian prayer? Do you think their grieving families would be represented by one clergy member of one church? What about the families who are Jewish? Muslim? Atheist? Pagan? Buddhist? About half the people who died on 9/11 were non-christian. Yet people like Bill Donohue would insist that a christian prayer be included in the event and would, no doubt, be satisfied with a priest of his choosing to be the only one leading the prayer.

No one brand of faith can represent the people who died and those who mourn. So you can either have prayer after prayer after prayer to represent everyone, or you can have none. With 6 moments of silence, and other person-specific remembrances in which some, without a doubt, will be spiritual in nature, there will be plenty of religious representation. Representation in this way does much, much more  to promote religious freedom than a government sponsored prayer from clergy of whichever politicians choosing.

I would propose these questions to the religious who wish to have a clergy-led prayer at this public service: Is your god powerless to hear prayers during a moment of silence (or by any random person at any time of the day)? Is your god so insignificant that he/she/it needs government sponsored prayer? Is your god so petty and cruel that he/she/it will refuse to bestow blessings on those who ask for it unless they convince our leaders to sponsor their prayers? Are churches being shut down because Bloomberg is not specifically sponsoring religion?

This is a very religious nation. We do not need the government to endorse our religions because we find them and practice them on our own with plenty of freedom to do just so. The religious right has made an awful stink where there doesn’t need to be one. If there isn’t some holy man on the stage at this event invoking a deity it is no big deal. If you absolutely need that type of thing to reach your god, try going to one of the many church-sponsored events going on this weekend.

Also remember that just because you found comfort in some religion, doesn’t mean everyone else did. 10 years ago I was able to find comfort in friends, family, and knowledge of the freedoms I have. The government is in no way required to provide you with religious comfort. Why would you want them to? When government gets involved with something as personal as religion, religious freedom will diminish. Anyone who holds religious beliefs should be thankful that Mayor Bloomberg is not treading on our 1st Amendment freedoms.

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Comments
  1. Sophia Grace says:

    Wow. From the title of your post, I was certain we wouldn’t agree. But I totally agree with you.

    The whole thing is that if it is a government led service, it simply cannot include any sect.

    A moment of silence – or ten – is far more appropriate.

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