Conservative religious leaders are complaining about being left out of the 9/11 tenth anniversary ceremonies this Sunday in New York. Mayor Michael Bloomberg made this decision and it has caused quite a reaction. Some evangelical leaders are planning a press conference this Friday near the site. A spokeswoman for Bloomberg, Evelyn Erskine, said "The ceremony was designed in coordination with 9/11 families with a mixture of readings that are spiritual, historical and personal in nature." This is in keeping with the way commemoration ceremonies have trended in recent years.
Beliefblog quotes one evangelical source as somewhat defensive of the mayor's decision.
“Mayor Bloomberg made an understandable but regrettable decision,” said Tim King, communications director for Sojourners, an evangelical Christian social justice group that is helping to plan the press conference. “Religion, and religious leaders, have caused a lot of unnecessary conflict and controversy,” King wrote in an e-mail message. “But avoiding religion entirely does not get to the root of the problem. “The answer is better religion,” King continued. “And to those religious leaders who are stirring up a media controversy about this decision ... you are showing exactly why Mayor Bloomberg didn’t want you there in the first place.”
What would be the "better religion" King mentions? Would it be Islam, the faith of those who committed the attacks? Would it be traditional Christianity with its differing creeds? Or would it be a nebulous "spiritual" religion without any defined theology?
Everyone likely has their own idea of what defines "better religion". But ten years later there is really only one "better religion" that can provide answers to all the lingering questions of this historic event. It is the religion that turns a people back to the true God of Abraham. Abraham is the one link between the three great monotheistic beliefs, (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). But these faiths have missed the deepest lessons of faith embodied in the story of Abraham and his descendants. No one has quite articulated the real lesson to be learned from 9/11
So I ask, "why should representatives of these three religions officially participate in this Sunday's memorial"? Ten years on they have not yet provided lasting effective answers to this and other tragedies.
The prophet Jeremiah was told to stand before the people of Jerusalem in the temple and tell them not to put their trust in deceptive words and beliefs. "But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless. " 'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"—safe to do all these detestable things?" (Jeremiah 7:8-10)
America has learned many lessons during the past ten years. But some of them were wrong, other ineffective and today we are a more divided, confused and unsure of ourselves. We have lost our spiritual compass and many of the religious leaders of the land must shoulder the blame.
This Sunday on Beyond Today we will explore what the country needs to learn ten years after 9/11. The program, "America: On the Hinge of History" will begin to explain what that "better religion" is. Tune in on WGN America at 8:30 A.M. EDT. This program will not be your typical commemoration.