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article imageChaplains won't be at 9/11 ceremony in New York

By KJ Mullins     Sep 3, 2011 in World
New York - The ceremony at Ground Zero that will take place a week from tomorrow on September 11 has come under fire for not inviting the first responders. That fire has expanded as word comes out that chaplains are also off of the list of invitees.
The 10 year anniversary ceremony at Ground Zero will not include clergy, first responders or prayers. Instead noted politicians and city officials will speak between the readings of the 2,983 victims names by the families.
It should be noted that none of the past ceremonies have included a religious slant. Moments of silence have been used in the past that allow guests a time to reflect and pray.
The biggest voice in the announcement that Ground Zero chaplains would not be part of the event has come from the Christian sector. In the past clergy took part in the event not to offer prayers but to help in the reading of the names.
Huffington Post reports that there are some religious leaders who are not upset including Rabbi Joseph Potasnik.
"Many people would understandably prefer to see a presence of clergy, but priority must be given to families of victims -- that is the overriding concern," said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis. "If you do include clergy, then the question becomes, 'Which faiths should be represented, which are not represented, how does one include everyone?'"
Clergy are raising their voice about the absence of religion at the ceremony. Says Southern Baptist church-state specialist Richard Land, "On that day, political correctness didn't matter."
During the days that followed September 11, 2001 clergy from all religious backgrounds joined together to offer prayers. At Ground Zero chaplains from all faiths were giving comfort and hope to those who walked around in a daze.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins released the following comment in a press release, "While the mayor may be blind to those he's leaving aside, the rest of the country is taking notice. More than 55,000 Americans and New Yorkers have signed petitions to Mayor Bloomberg asking that he reverse his decision to deny first responders and prayer a place at this most solemn remembrance. Petition signers reflect the views of the vast majority of Americans who understand that this nation needs prayer more than politics."
Petitions have been circulating since Bloomberg's announcement to reverse the decision to not allow clergy and first responders from participating in the Ground Zero commemoration. Those petitions will be given to the office of the mayor on Thursday, three days before the ceremony.
New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg is defending his decision to not include those who worked at Ground Zero in the official September 11 ceremony.
"We are planning something for first responders to say thank you, but the bottom line is for 10 years we've been doing this for families, and we'll continue doing this for families," he said. "They just get the priorities."
A space opposite Ground Zero at Zuccotti Park has been made available for first responders and others to attend.
This article is part of Digital Journal's project to remember September 11. If you have a story to tell, join us on Facebook and Twitter, and post your memories to Digital Journal. Full details on how to participate can be found here. You can also read other submissions on our September 11 Anniversary page.
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