New York Mayor Bloomberg successfully resisted pressure from religious groups, and held a secular remembrance for the families of 9/11 victims.
Predictably, the godder reaction was outrage. Failing to invite them is the same as attacking them. According to Richard Land, who leads the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention:
Nobody was turning religious leaders away from the scene 10 years ago. Why are they being banned from the 10th anniversary? The only answer, pure and simple, is anti-religious prejudice.
Bloomberg spokeswoman Evelyn Erskine:
Rather than have disagreements over which religious leaders participate, we would like to keep the focus of our commemoration ceremony on the family members of those who died.
Bloomberg himself was a bit more blunt:
“It’s a civil ceremony. There are plenty of opportunities for people to have their religious ceremonies. 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. If you want to have a service for your religion, you can have it in your church or in a field, or whatever.”
Writing for Examiner.com, Michael Stone saw the plus side:
Secular America is praising New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to keep Sunday’s 9/11 remembrance ceremony religion free. Despite enormous pressure from conservative Christians and others eager to inject the divisive subject of religion into the ceremony, Bloomberg held his ground, refusing to be bullied by the faithful.
Conservative Christian organizations like the Catholic League, the Family Research Council, and others claim that exclusion of religion from the ceremony constitutes a bias against religion.
But then again, they WOULD.