(CNSNews.com) – A black conservative advocacy group said the omission of evangelicals from the 9/11 commemoration “A Call to Compassion” reveals discrimination against one faith and favor toward others.
“The fact that Evangelical Christians are apparently being discriminated against here adds credibility to the fears of many that a “stealth jihad” has penetrated numerous American religious systems,” Stacy Swimp, spokesperson for Project 21, told CNSNews.com. “If successful, this co-opting of senior religious leaders could help usher Shariah law into the United States.”
Swimp also said it was an affront to those most directly affected by the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack by Islamic extremists that killed 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
“It is also incredibly insensitive to the families of the victims of 9/11, many of whom are undoubtedly Evangelical Christians,” Swimp said.
The commemoration was originally scheduled for the National Cathedral but has been moved to the J. F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Washington Hebrew Congregation after a crane collapsed while repairing damage from the recent earthquake.
Richard Weinberg, the National Cathedral’s director of communications, told Fox News Radio that Southern Baptists – the largest Protestant denomination with some 16 millions members in the United States – were not extended an invitation to participate.
“The goal was to have interfaith representation,” Weinberg said. “The Cathedral itself is an Episcopal church, and it stands to reason that our own clergy serve as Christian representatives.”
Weinberg told Fox that “diversity was first and foremost” a factor in the planning the event.
Those religious leaders scheduled to speak at the 8:30 a.m. prayer vigil on Sunday at the synagogue include Cathedral Dean Samuel T. Lloyd III; Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane; Rabbi Bruce Lustig, Washington Hebrew Congregation; Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche of Tibet, Buddhist nun and incarnate lama; Dr. D.C. Rao, a representative of the Hindu and Jain faiths on the Board of Directors of the InterFaith Conference; Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America; and Islamic musician Humayun Khan.
“A Concert for Hope” will take place at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Kennedy Center, and President Barack Obama will be the keynote speaker.
Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, told Fox that Obama should reconsider speaking at the event given its exclusion of certain people of the protestant faith – a faith Obama claims as his own.
Swimp said the president is “out of touch.”
“That President Barack Obama would participate in, and indirectly support, discrimination against Evangelical Christians is a clear indication that he is out of touch with the history of our nation and the inspiration of our Constitution — which was born out of resistance to this very kind of injustice,” Swimp said.