Bloomberg: No Godders at 9/11 Service

If you ever feel, as an atheist or secularist, that we’re not making headway, and are maybe even losing ground against the forces of religion, remember this:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that the 10th anniversary memorial ceremony of the 9/11 terror attacks on the Twin Towers will include no clergy.

This is major. An event that has been used and abused by various religious hucksters for the past decade will deliberately disinclude — on its 10th Anniversary — the speakers and pitchmen for the gods.

The reasoning behind Mayor Bloomberg’s  decision is that there’s no way to include ALL segments of the religious community — to be fair to everybody and to refrain from making one group or another feel left out — and that is a fantastic argument for doing it this way.

… there haven’t been clergy in the lineup at any 9/11 memorial service at Ground Zero under Bloomberg. This isn’t new, it’s a continuation of a multi-year policy of focusing the memorial on the families, not on providing a soapbox for clergy to pontificate. They each already have a place where they can do that.

However, ten years ago that reason could not even have been part of the debate, much less the deciding factor.

Speaking out, standing up, has changed the terms of the public discussion about religion enough that Christian mouthpieces no longer have an automatic place at the table.

People have begun to recognize that not every event — even a solemn national-scale memorial service such as this one — has to include godspeakers.

  • Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort

    This is wonderful news. Sadly people are already complaining about it. Naturally people of different faiths or denominations saying they want to be represented – and they’re only thinking about their own faith / denomination.

    *sigh* and we’re the intolerant ones *shakes head*

    (BTW – nice blog, but it doesn’t show up on the front page)

  • Rambling T. Wreck

    This is awesome to hear!

  • onefuriousllama

    Hey, good point. I’m actually quite surprised that anybody would come out and try to exclude religion from that particular memorial.

    It does seem like some conciousness has been raised and that’s a good thing!

  • larianlequella

    That is awesome! It would be funny to have someone mention that without religion, the whole 9/11 memorial would be unnecessary. Just saying!

  • astrosmash

    Very surprising. Very refreshing. I get so sick of the clergy “Golomly” trying to inculcate themseves into all aspects of our ritual lives. I’d love to have seen their faces when they were told “no”. I mean, you KNOW what that would have looked like…The shock. Whenever these goons use tragedy to belly up to the bar, so to speak, my first thought is always: “How dare you. You do NOT speak for me…

  • kennypo65

    Finally! I’m so sick of the god botherers chiming in on every aspect of public life. These douchebags don’t speak for me or for many other Americans. These snake-oil salesmen have no business there. They can speak to their sheeple in their churches, that is their right, but keep that crap away from the rest of us.

  • Brain Hertz

    I was wondering how this would be handled. I mean, let’s suppose clergy were permitted to attend. Presumably, it would be difficult to refuse requests to attend from clergy of various denominations representing those who died.

    Except that there were many Muslims who died in the twin towers, and quite likely many among the first responders. So what to do if Islamic clergy request attendance?

    Can you imagine the wingnut freakout at the question even being asked?

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