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.