Fox News is up in arms that members of the clergy will not be included in 9-11 memorial ceremonies at ground zero. But the policy is nothing new: it's a continuation of the same practice that has been in place for past memorials.
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Fox Decides: "Banning Clergy" From 9-11 Anniversary Ceremony Is "A Victory For The Terrorists"
Doocy: "This Comes As A Surprise" That "Mayor Michael Bloomberg Is Banning Clergy From The September 11th, 10th Anniversary Ceremony." Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy said:
DOOCY: Meanwhile, religion has no place at ground zero. That's because New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is banning the clergy from the September 11th, 10th anniversary ceremony. This comes as a surprise, especially since he recently defended plans to build that mosque near ground zero. Fernando Cabrera is a New York City council member and a pastor at New Life Outreach International, joins us live today. So the mayor says he doesn't want any religious leaders at the 9-11 memorial.
CABRERA: I think that's a mistake. Not only the fact that religious leaders were one of the first ones to be at ground zero when the 9-11 terror took place -- the very first person that was taken out of the rubble, as many people remember, was a chaplain.
DOOCY: And so what the -- the mayor has not invited any spiritual leaders at all, and there will be no prayer, extraordinarily, at the event.
CABRERA: That's shocking. Prayer is what gave us strength, will continue to give us strength, and to help bring comfort out of the pain. To give purpose, to find meaning out of this tragic event. And to remove that, I think, is a tragic mistake.
DOOCY: We've gotten a statement from the mayor's office, and here's how it reads, pastor. It says, "Religious leaders or others are free to hold such an event, the focus of this commemoration ceremony is on the family members of those who died." You know, I haven't taken a poll of the audience, but I would imagine most of the people who lost somebody on September the 11th would be comforted by some words of prayer. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 8/25/11]
Guilfoyle: "It Violates Your Freedom Of Religion." The Five co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said:
GUILFOYLE: It's very insensitive, it really is. And I think it violates your freedom of religion. And why would you do something like that with - it's so important, and the clergy played such an important role. Why's he doing it? [Fox News, The Five, 8/25/11]
Crowley: Leaving Out Clergy Is "A Victory For The Terrorists." The Five co-host Monica Crowley said:
CROWLEY: The other point too, Kimberly, is that these terrorists acted in the name of their faith. So, if we strip faith out of these services completely and make it totally secular, then that's a victory for the terrorists. [Fox News, The Five, 8/25/11]
O'Reilly: "You Would Think That There Would Be Some Religious People Involved" In Ceremony. On his show, Bill O'Reilly said:
O'REILLY: Here in New York City in a couple of weeks we're going to have the 9/11 10th anniversary, which is a sad and somber moment. You would think that there would be some religious people involved with that because of the deaths of 3,000 people here in this city. But Mayor Bloomberg says no. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 8/25/11]
Hannity: "We Can't Mention God On September 11th?" Sean Hannity said that Bloomberg "is refusing to allow clergy members to participate in the ceremony marking the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks." He further opined:
HANNITY: Wait a minute. We can't mention God on September 11th? I have a theory about why he's doing this. I think this is outrageous to the people of New York and to the families and to the overwhelming majority of people that day that prayed and turned to God as their country was under attack. [Fox News, Hannity, 8/25/11]
But Clergy Have Not Participated In Past Ceremonies Commemorating The 9-11 Terrorist Attacks
WSJ Reported Clergy Have Not Participated In Past Ceremonies. From The Wall Street Journal:
Religious leaders are calling on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to reverse course and offer clergy a role in the ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
City Hall officials, who are coordinating the ceremony, confirmed that spiritual leaders will not participate this year -- just as has been the case during past events marking the anniversary. The mayor has said he wants the upcoming event to strike a similar tone as previous ceremonies.
"There are hundreds of important people that have offered to participate over the last nine years, but the focus remains on the families of the thousands who died on Sept. 11," said Evelyn Erskine, a mayoral spokeswoman. [The Wall Street Journal, 8/24/11]