(Washington, DC) - Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said today the fact that prayer and Scripture were key ingredients in the 9/11 remembrance at Ground Zero shows how wrong Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in refusing to reverse a ban prohibiting religious leaders and prayer from being part of the official ceremony.
"Despite the Mayor's ban, prayer permeated the solemn and sacred remembrance at Ground Zero," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "We heard from nearly 40,000 Americans who supported prayer at this event. And, in the end, even with the ban in place, President Obama, former President Bush, and former New York City Mayor Giuliani - understood the importance of including prayer in their remarks - prayer for those who are still suffering from the nation's worst terrorist attack - prayer for our nation. In spite of the Mayor's stubborn refusal to acknowledge the importance of including prayer, the fact is that prayer and Scripture played an integral part of this memorial event and for that we are grateful."
The ACLJ sent Mayor Bloomberg a letter signed by nearly 40,000 Americans declaring their support for prayer at the event and urging him to rescind his ban. In his remarks at Ground Zero, President Obama read Psalm 46, which begins with, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging."
Former President George W. Bush read from a letter written by Abraham Lincoln in 1864 to a mother who lost five sons during the Civil War. Lincoln ended the letter saying, "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, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom."
And former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani read from Ecclesiastes. As Giuliani put it: "The perspective that we need, and have needed, to get through the last 10 years, and the years that remain, are best expressed by the words of God as inscribed in the book of Ecclesiastes."