Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Hallowed Grounds, Throughout The U.S.A.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer has weighed in on Cordoba House, inaccurately dubbed the "Ground Zero mosque," and, not surprisingly, it is not positive. He makes some good and some bad points, but his argument may be summarized as

When we speak of Ground Zero as hallowed ground, what we mean is that it belongs to those who suffered and died there -- and that such ownership obliges us, the living, to preserve the dignity and memory of the place, never allowing it to be forgotten, trivialized or misappropriated.....

Build it anywhere but there.

That last is a good, short line; why Krauthammer didn't conclude his piece with it is puzzling. Notwithstanding that some of the opposition no doubt is motivated by the proposed placement of the community center, it is instructive to remember, as The New York Times has reported

In Murfreesboro, Tenn., Republican candidates have denounced plans for a large Muslim center proposed near a subdivision, and hundreds of protesters have turned out for a march and a county meeting.

In late June, in Temecula, Calif., members of a local Tea Party group took dogs and picket signs to Friday prayers at a mosque that is seeking to build a new worship center on a vacant lot nearby.

In Sheboygan, Wis., a few Christian ministers led a noisy fight against a Muslim group that sought permission to open a mosque in a former health food store bought by a Muslim doctor.

The reference to "hallowed ground" is instructive. The "mosque" is not to be consructed on the premises of what Krauthammer terms "hallowed ground," but instead a short distance away. And the phrase itself has ecclesiastical, not civil, origins, suggesting that an unspoken motive for opposition is on religious grounds. Meanwhile, perhaps Krauthammer, who implies he is objecting to Cordoba House only because "location matters," will recommend to community leaders and their constituents in Murfreesboro, Temecula, and Sheboygan that they approve a mosque in their towns.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I think these pictures clearly prove it's hallowed ground:

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