NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has banned faith leaders from the upcoming 9/11 ceremony

A Pentecostal Perspective
Seeing life through the spirit with Rev. Ken Gurley

Have we already forgotten?
That was the first question that went through my mind after hearing the news that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg had banned faith leaders from the upcoming 9/11 ceremony. Bloomberg has, over recent years, been decisively indecisive on the role of faith at this tragic site. He defended the display of the 20 foot tall cross standing in the midst of the debris of the Twin Towers. He also defended the right of the building of the mosque near Ground Zero. But, for this pivotal meeting, Bloomberg came up short.

For the tenth anniversary ceremony of this great national tragedy: A gaggle of politicians are welcome; but faith leaders are not. Bloomberg’s office defends this by saying that the focus this year will be on the families of the victims.

But…Who can forget the bastion of hope found at St. Paul’s Church from September 2001 through May 2002? Thousands of rescue workers, survivors, well-wishers, and families of victims made pilgrimages through this memento-littered chapel. To this day, this small chapel is a magnet to people visiting the Ground Zero site.

But…Who can forget the spontaneous prayer meetings across New York City and the rest of the grieving nation? Churches remained open and staffed with volunteers to minister to the confused and hurting people.

But…Who can forget the ministers who rushed to Ground Zero and waded into the tragedy with hands and hearts opened? The sandal-clad fire chaplain struck by falling debris, Mychal F. Judge, was chief amongst them.

Without faith, the writer of Hebrews penned, it is impossible to please God. Without faith, people would not have come through 9/11.

Rudy Washington, a deputy mayor in former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s administration, organized an interfaith ceremony at Yankee Stadium shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Upon hearing the news that Bloomberg had excluded faith leaders, Washington said, “This is America, and to have a memorial service where there’s no prayer, this appears to be insanity to me…I feel like America has lost its way.

When faith leaders are not welcomed at such a meeting, then, indeed America has lost her way.