KNIGHT: 9/11 memorial without prayer

Hostility to America’s religious heritage surfaces from coast to coast

We’ve got a word for someone who hates Christmas - Grinch. What should we call someone who hates America’s Judeo-Christian heritage, even to the point of barring clergy at a ceremony at the site of a major tragedy?

How about “theophobe”? The word is already out there. You can look it up.

In one special case, we can just call the theophobe “Mayor.” That would be Michael R. Bloomberg, New York’s trendy, formerly Republican leader, who has topped even his own endorsement of a mosque near Ground Zero by forbidding prayer at the upcoming ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Maybe Mr. Bloomberg is only selectively theophobic and would consider allowing some Muslim prayers or perhaps an atheistic rant. To be fair, it must be noted that he has not had a problem with the display of the World Trade Center Cross, a 20-foot structure composed of steel beams found that way in the Ground Zero rubble.

But his tone-deaf moral equivalence when it comes to Ground Zero sensibilities is still stunning.

Faced with opposition to the proposed mosque, he said, “I think it’s fair to say if somebody was going to try, on that piece of property, to build a church or a synagogue, nobody would be yelling and screaming.”

No, because it wasn’t Christians or Jews who hijacked jetliners and rammed them into the Trade Center’s Twin Towers, killing nearly 3,000 people. That’s kind of an important detail.

The sheer hostility toward America’s Judeo-Christian heritage is manifesting itself in weird ways.

I was on a radio talk show the other day when the otherwise sane and articulate host ventured that people with a religious worldview cannot be expected to have open minds. This would rule out Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and geneticist Francis Collins, not to mention George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and all the poets from Shakespeare to Robert Frost.

And if it’s true that all religions are equal when it comes to shutting down the mind, why did science uniquely explode in the Christian Western world, as the late Rev. Stanley Jaki so eloquently explained in his book “The Savior of Science”?

Perhaps my talk-show host was drinking from the same fountain as the ever vigilant American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which works ceaselessly to stamp out any public evidence of America’s religious reality. On any given day, the ACLU is yanking Ten Commandments monuments out of the ground or warning schools not to let pesky prayers find their way into football coaches’ motivational speeches.

Earlier this month, the ACLU managed to scare off a Florida panhandle city from providing insurance for a rally honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Why? Because God is in the mix.

Threatened with a lawsuit, the Milton City Council decided against providing insurance coverage for the Restoring Faith in God, Country and Patriotism Rally. Money raised for the event was earmarked originally for the Wounded Warrior Project, a charity that aids people injured in the war on terror.

Milton, which lies just northeast of the naval port and airfield at Pensacola, will still host the nondenominational assembly at its high school football stadium to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But it will cost more than it should have.

The original plan was to place the event under the city’s blanket insurance coverage, but organizers instead had to purchase two hours’ of coverage for almost $1,000, thanks to the theophobes at the ACLU.

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