August 31, 2011
In a recent interview Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, took issue with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s decision not to include chaplains and religious leaders at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 commemoration service, despite his acclaimed support of religious freedom and tolerance:
“It is interesting to contrast the 10th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers with the day of the attack. Chaplains and religious leaders were welcomed, and some were martyred, as they sought to minister their faith to the victims of the attack. On that day, political correctness didn’t matter. It was overwhelmed by the crushing reality of the tragedy of 9/11, and people turned, as they always do, to solace from the realm of the spiritual.
“I understand that first responders were also not invited to the 10th anniversary event, unless they happened to be relatives of victims. Once again, on the original 9/11 attack, first responders were not
excluded. I suspect that if, God forbid, there is another attack of similar severity in New York, neither religious leaders nor first responders will be excluded, but welcomed at the scene. Unfortunately
Mayor Bloomberg’s decision demonstrates the mindless secularist prejudice of the political establishment on our nation’s Eastern Seaboard.”
Land also took issue with the announcement that a so-called interfaith prayer vigil, absent any Evangelicals, would be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., September 11:
“The idea that you would exclude a representative of at least 35 percent of the population that identifies with Evangelical Christianity is difficult to comprehend, much less to defend. Perhaps what is even more difficult to comprehend is the Cathedral describing President Obama’s event as a ‘secular service.’ If it’s a secular service, why is it being held in a cathedral? Many Evangelicals and other people of faith are rightly offended at this attempt to marginalize religious faith in this way as we commemorate the memory of this very painful event in American history.”