Krauthammer: Sacrilege at Ground Zero

Source: National Review Online

A place is made sacred by a widespread belief that it was visited by the miraculous or the transcendent (Lourdes, the Temple Mount), by the presence there once of great nobility and sacrifice (Gettysburg), or by the blood of martyrs and the indescribable suffering of the innocent (Auschwitz).

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.

That’s why Disney’s early ’90s proposal to build an American history theme park near Manassas Battlefield was defeated by a broad coalition fearing vulgarization of the Civil War (and wiser than me; at the time I obtusely saw little harm in the venture). It’s why the commercial viewing tower built right on the border of Gettysburg was taken down by the Park Service. It’s why, while no one objects to Japanese cultural centers, the idea of putting one up at Pearl Harbor would be offensive.

Read the entire article on the National Review Online website.


  1. Awhile back a synagogue on the island of Cyprus was desecrated. Both Archbishop Demetrios and the Ecumenical Patriarch issued a written statement condemning such actions and urging the full restoration of the place of worship. On 9/11/01 Islamic fundamentalists destroyed St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in New York City yet neither the EP nor Archbishop Demetrios seems in any rush to rebuild this place of worship. How can terrorists blow up a Church in America and the bishop of the diocese not want to rebuild with all speed and dilligence.

    What is the official position of the EP with regard to rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church?

    What is the official position of the EP with regard to the building of the Cordova center at Ground Zero?

    I think it would be a great first effort on the newly minted episcopal assembly to unite together to advocate for the building of St. Nicholas Church at Ground Zero. A great place to start would be a letter signed by all bishops saying as much. No matter what your Church politics are the rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church is something we can all unite and agree upon.

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      What is the official position of the EP with regard to rebuilding of St. Nicholas Church?

      Andrew, word is that Fox news is trying to work out an interview with Fr. Mark Arey. We will find out then.

      • What is there to work out? Fr. Mark can easily hop in a taxi and drive down to the Fox News Studios in New York City if he really wants to discuss this issue. I bet the cab fare in under $20 with tip.

  2. I really think Krauthammer did a really good job expressing the heart of this.

  3. I wonder if there is another group of more influential Orthodox people than this little klatch we have here who can motivate some Orthodox action on this matter. It’s maddening to sit here at the keyboard with only ‘youse guys’ on the other end agreeing. Where do the much-vaunted Archons stand on this matter? How many man-hours do they waste every year blabbing about the quixotic project of re-opening Haghia Sophia for Orthodox worship (yeah, and monkey will fly out of my a*%$) and, as far as I know, they are mute regarding this much more realistic fight on territory which has not yet been lost to the Dar el Islam.

    • Fr. Johannes Jacobse :

      Well, I wrote an editorial on it for the Hellenic Voice but it appears they have not published it. First time they held back on a submission. I’ll go ahead and publish here and on OT. Maybe that will get some traction. It has a few more paragraphs than the one I published on Catholic Online.

      • I wonder if there isn’t energy to turn that land into money if it can be made to seem ‘someone elses fault’. Quite the parcel of real estate, no? Rent it to whoever builds something large and profitable on it? Perahps deed it elseeast first? Didn’t someone overseas ask for realestate to be titled in the EP’s name here in the US? DhimmiRUs?

    • George Michalopulos :

      Fr John, your words sting, and rightly so. True, it’s sad, but our little “klatch” may be the only group of resolute Orthodox Christians out there speaking on this and other matters. What are we gonna do? Listen to the GOA bishops who are in a heated debate over the proper pronunciation of the word baklava? It’d be nice if those sob-sisters who are always crying about Halki had any moral courage but I don’t think it should stop us from crying out.

      Although I’ve become more aware of the differences in the ministries within the Church and the necessity of maintaining good order, ultimately, the final authority in the Church is the people of God. Prophetic witness must come from the bishops but if they won’t exercize it, then we should force them to do so in any moral, ethnical, and non-violent way as possible. If we don’t, then we’ll have to give an account for our apathy I’m afraid.

    • George Michalopulos :

      One reason the Archons waste so many man-hours is because they would rather pursue quixotic quests that will never happen rather than take responsibility for things that are do-able and would make a difference in the real world. Like build an orphanage, hospital, run a soup kitchen, etc. Those things would make them accountable. Instead, like most GOA bishops, they are comically trying to play the victim card. Eventually the nostalgia-worship will wear off.

      In fairness to some of the Archons at least, it appears that Michael Jaharis has taken stock of the recent past within the GOA and come to a more sobering realization of where we are. We need to praise him for this because the usual inertia is always in danger of settling in. If you read his speech and then read The Orthodox Disturber’s version of it, then you can see that the 79th St bureaucrats went right back to promolgating the happy-clappy spin on GOA-land.

  4. The issue of St. Nicholas Church being rebuilt as well as the Cordova Center at Ground Zero is another good reason the GOA bishops should not give up their freedom to speak and become Turkish Citizens.

  5. On the one hand, I support religious freedom whether it be Mormon, Catholic, Orthodox or Muslim. On the other, while most Muslims are certainly not terrorists, a substantial percentage still embrace sharia law throughout the world. The civilized world is either ignorant or downplaying the brutalities of what this entails. I, for one, never want to see this within our borders. More moderate Muslims with influence need to speak louder in rejecting this not only here but abroad.

    (Warning: some of the images might be disturbing to some.)

  6. Chris, there are numerous moderate Muslims who reject terrorism, sharia and every violation of human rights. Unfortunately, in-country moderates are persecuted, and even in America and Canada, they will sometimes receive death threats from more radical Muslims for speaking out. Fear is a powerful tool. I’m hoping that we can discuss issues like this without alienating or harming those moderates who may be our allies.

  7. Are we sure that all non-violent Muslims do not speak out because they are afraid, or is it quiet approval, perhaps they just sit back and let the louder more agressive Muslims do their thing because they are the ones who “get things done?”

    Do not all Muslims read the same Quran?

  8. George Michalopulos :

    Chris, I believe it’s probably a mix of both and probably some other things as well.

    Let me state at this point the usual caveats: Most Muslims are not violent, hate the horros of jihad, want to be left alone, etc. All true. The problem however won’t go away. So what is our response? Toleration? Surrender?

    Islam “is what it is.” I know that’s a trite, overused phrase. However it’s true. So, what is our response? As a civilization and as a Christian confession? That’s the only thing within our control at this point.

  9. What if your gaurdian over your account of money wont let you have your money?

  10. alexis banias :


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