Religion in Society

We shouldn't see oursleves through our religions first, but ourselves first as Americans

| by Jerome McCollom

I was listening to conservative talk radio and the host was upset that the only Christian cleric to represent the Christian religion on a 9/11 memorial service was one of the Episcopalian faith. There were also clerics from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. The host wanted an evangelical Christian to be invited by the dean of the National Cathedral, which is the church that regularly hosts such events. First, I am not sure if we should have a National Cathedral, especially one that received in the 19th century a charter by the U.S. Congress. To me this seems to be like recognizing the Catholic church as a nation state, both wrong and pointless.

But, why do we think ( and the host isn't obviously the only one in this regard) that we as a people need to be represented through clerics or religious leaders? Is not an Episcopal cleric,also a Christian? As a humanist, I don't require a humanist representative at this event. If there is not one, than is that an affront to humanists and/or atheists? Does that mean that we aren't represented at such an event, or are second class citizens? Maybe the problem is too many people see themselves through their religion first, and themselves as Americans, second. The 9/11 Memorial isn't about us as separate religions but about us as Americans who were attacked on that day.