by Karla Dial
Evangelical Christians won a key victory Thursday when the
police and parks department gave them permission to hold a prayer service at Ground Zero on the eve of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks. New York City
The Family Research Council (FRC) delivered 62,000 petition signatures this morning to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, asking him to reconsider his decision to exclude clergy, first responders, prayer and public expressions of faith from the Ground Zero 9/11 memorial event Sunday. At the National Cathedral in
, there will be prayer — but none from evangelicals, who were not invited. Instead, the “Call to Compassion” service will feature some mainline denominations, a Jewish rabbi, a Buddhist nun, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America and a Muslim musician. Washington, D.C.
Though Bloomberg gave no indication of changing his mind, the Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, told CitizenLink the city’s police department has no problem with public prayer at Ground Zero.
“For the last two days, we’ve been working with city officials to do that, and we just got the green light,” he said. “It will be the only public prayer service at the 9/11 (site). Mayor Bloomberg does not represent the feeling of most people in the country — who, though they may not agree with us on all issues, agree it was faith that sustained people through 9/11 and for the last ten years.”
Approximately 50 people will meet in front of
’s Chapel in lower St. Paul at Saturday, then walk to Ground Zero. Manhattan
“We have to keep it small. That was one of the conditions, because traffic is going to be quite heavy,” Mahoney said. “But we have a feeling that once we initiate the prayer service, people will just spontaneously join us. So we’re working that out with the police right now.”
In a press conference at City Hall, FRC spokeswoman Cathy Ruse said “the nation needs prayer more than politics.” The group collected its petition signatures from all over the country in one week.
“When our country was attacked, Americans didn’t say, ‘Oh, Great Politicians, please hold a press conference!’ ” she said. “No, they turned to God for help and solace. It was and is their natural response to a great tragedy.”