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  • Presidents Obama and Bush Invoke America's Religious Heritage at Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial

    Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City made headlines when he expressly excluded clergy-led prayer from the planned 10th anniversary 9/11 Memorial Service at Ground Zero. It troubled many Americans that a prominent public official would ignore the profound role the faith community played in the aftermath of 9/11. Yet, thanks to the intervention of two American Presidents who were invited, the memorial service ultimately did reflect our nation’s religious heritage.

    Following remarks by Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama stood to offer solace to the families of 9/11 victims who were gathered. His entire speech was taken straight from Psalm 46, a passage cited in difficult times by courageous leaders from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Reverend Billy Graham used this text in his memorable sermon at the National Cathedral on September 14, 2001.

    Former President George W. Bush briefly spoke at the Ground Zero memorial service as well. He pointedly acknowledged the American tradition of faith, as he echoed the words of Abraham Lincoln: “I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost.”

    President Obama’s policy record on supporting religious liberty, including freedom of conscience for chaplains and health care professionals, has been lacking. His decision to invoke our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage in the public square, when organizers insisted on a nonreligious program, is a recognition of the continuing significance of religious practice for the common good—and should be followed up in policy deed.


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    9 Responses to Presidents Obama and Bush Invoke America's Religious Heritage at Ground Zero 9/11 Memorial

    1. GotFreedom says:

      I'm sorry Mr. Shepherd but don't know too many Americans who are buying BHO's invoking "our nation’s Judeo-Christian heritage in the public square".

    2. Jeff, Illinois says:

      What a stretch to find something negative to say about Obama . . So .. so . . tiring!!!!! WOW !!!!!

    3. There was no need to substitute 'heathen' with nations in Psalms 46.

    4. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Obama is in "campaign mode"! As always, he will say anything that will make him more acceptable to the American people, except more so. To suggest Obama actually means what he reads is absurd. It's all about who Obama can deceive today.

      No Jeff, it's not a "stretch". It's Obama!

    5. Ethan says:

      Christians were not the only ones who helped after 9/11 and they sure as hell weren't the only ones who died in the attacks. Why should they be the only ones who get recognized at the memorial? Whether you like it or not, this country was founded on the idea of freedom for ALL religions, not just Christianity. Either recognize all the religions that were affected by the events of 9/11 or just make it a non-denominational ceremony to express condolences for those who lost someone. If you want to have a christian prayer for the people who died, go ahead and do it; but there's no reason to force everyone else to take part in YOUR religion just because you think it's better than theirs.

      • Bobbie says:

        who's stopping any religion from coming to the plate, Ethan? God doesn't represent any religion and either does Jesus Christ, so to reflect words of personal strength, human endurance and inspiration recognizing the two has nothing to do with "religion."

    6. Gary says:

      Folks let's just take it for what it was, a sharing of wonderful words sent to ease the hearts of so many affected by 9/11. Not just the 3000+ who died or their family and friends but a nation that was attacked and has suffered painfully by these premeditated attacks. I for one do not like many of the President's policies, but was surprised AND pleased he turned to the Bible to find the message he shared. In the words of Herman Cain last night, we need to lighten up!

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