Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Church at Ground Zero

My heart just broke when I read earlier this morning about the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s treatment towards the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America over getting the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church back on its feet. I recalled the horror I felt when I first learned about the church, not on September 11, 2001, but earlier this summer while watching Ric Burns’ documentary New York. One of the interviewees, focusing on the American symbol of financial power, marveled that only the World Trade Center was targeted and only the World Trade Center was hit, adding the little church as if it were an unimportant afterthought.

He must have been right. While local Christians, churches, and parachurch organizations collected money and supplies to send to families connected with the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and to soldiers sent to Afghanistan, I heard not one word about the church building* that was utterly destroyed. And now there’s so much clamoring about building a mosque a few blocks away from the site, as if its presence is the highest affront to Christiandom, while everyone ignores the port agency’s pointed snub of a congregation that has suffered miserably and is trying to rebuild itself. People have accused American Christians of caring more about money and warfare than their Christian brethren around the world. Now we can be accused of not even caring about each other.

*I still haven’t been able to find out if anyone was killed.