New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided not to invite clergy and first responders to the upcoming 10th anniversary memorial of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. The mayor's office is citing space issues, saying they are inviting only family members of those who died in the attacks.
Most American's will remember the first recorded death of the Trade Center attack
Rudy Washington, a former official in the Guiliani adminstration, makes a profound point. "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."
While laypersons can pray to God (I am not certain any prayers will be offered), clergy are visibile representatives of an invisible God. Their physical presence is symbolic of God's presence. Hence, their exclusion is His exclusion.
The trouble, no doubt, is that once one member is invited, the dominoe effect of "exclusion" gets tipped. If a Catholic priest, then a Protestant minister. If a liberal, then a conservative. If a male, then a female. If Christians, then Muslims...and now the great offense is on. Families of victims of Muslim terrorists exposed to a Muslim imam praying to Allah--who commanded the deaths of the American infidels. That gets messy.
Of course, the Mayor has allowed the governors of New York (Andrew Cuomo) and New Jersey (Chris Christie) to participate. And yes, the President will be there too. All of these politicians will bring sizable staff and security details (so much for the space limitation excuse).
We'll accept the presence of politicians, but accept the exclusion of Christ's ministers. We've come a long way from the days of the founders who decided early on to have ministers pray to God. America has indeed lost its way.