Bloomberg Under Fire for Clergy-Free 9/11 Ceremony
Mayor 'pretending we're a secular society': Southern Baptist leader
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Sep 9, 2011 9:31 AM CDT
In this Jan. 14, 2004 file photo, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sits in front of an artist rendering of the winning design for the World Trade Center site memorial.   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, file)

(Newser) – This Sunday’s 9/11 memorial ceremony in New York City won’t include any speakers from the clergy—and both religious and political figures aren’t happy about it. “We’re not France,” says a Southern Baptist leader. “Mr. Bloomberg is pretending we’re a secular society, and we are not.” A Republican congressman from Virginia has sent Bloomberg a letter calling for the ceremony to include prayer, while the Family Research Council and a city councilman delivered the mayor what they say is a 62,000-signature petition requesting the inclusion of clergy, the New York Times reports.

But New York has held a similar 9/11 ceremony, which revolves around reading the names of the attacks’ victims, for a decade, notes a Bloomberg rep—and religious leaders frequently attend. “The structure for this program was designed 10 years ago, with the consultation of a lot of families of those who died, and it is primarily for the families.” Meanwhile, Washington is holding an interfaith prayer service, but some evangelical Christians have voiced frustration that no evangelical minister is scheduled to speak. Click through for more on the 9/11 ceremony controversy.