Another day, another religious sensitivity concern, as the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks inches ever closer.
While New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has decided to exclude all religion from his city’s remembrance ceremonies, in our nation’s capital the Washington National Cathedral commemoration’s organizers have decided to exclude evangelical Christianity.
The Cathedral’s “A Call to Compassion” on September 11 will include a bishop, a rabbi, a Tibetan lama, a Buddhist nun, representatives of the Hindu and Jain faiths, an imam and an Islamic musician. Noticeably absent from the invitation list and “secular service” — at which President Obama will be speaking — is a leader to represent the evangelical community. (RELATED: Petition underway to get 9/11 first responders invited to tenth anniversary ceremony)
And evangelicals are crying foul.
“The idea that you would exclude a representative of at least 35 percent of the population that identifies with evangelical Christianity is difficult to comprehend, much less to defend,” Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention told TheDC. “Perhaps what is even more difficult to comprehend is the Cathedral describing President Obama’s event as a ‘secular service.’ If it’s a secular service, why is it being held in a cathedral?”
“Many evangelicals and other people of faith are rightly offended at this attempt to marginalize religious faith in this way as we commemorate the memory of this very painful event in American history,” Land added.
Frank Page, president of the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, is calling on Obama to cancel his appearance entirely.
“I think it would send a very strong and very positive signal to the left wing extremists in our country that the president ought not show up,” Page told Fox News Radio.
Concerned Women for America president and CEO Penny Nance voiced her outrage as well.
“There are an estimated 70 to 80 million evangelical Christians in this nation,” Nance told TheDC. “We are important members of almost all communities. Some of us died on 9/11. It is outrageous that we were excluded.”