On a tropical cliff overlooking the blue waters of Oahu's Pearl Harbor, a private land owner has created a temple for praise and prayer in memorial of the Japanese Emperor. The plaque laid at the entrance to the temple reads, in part, "it is our prayer that through embracing traditional Japanese culture, the people of this land can embrace the wisdom of our actions". The picture of the temple is seen, left.
The opening ceremonies of the new temple drew crowds in the hundreds, all of whom were given the Imperial Japanese flag of the rising sun to wave proudly in triumph of the unveiling.
While I support the right of private land owners to build places of worship and prayer, or to handle their property however they see fit, I have to question the intent and logic behind their actions. Clearly, in this case, the temple of Hirohito overlooks the graveyard of thousands of sailors, some of whom remain entombed in the Arizona. Why, I am wondering, would a private religious or other group raise a shrine of celebration overlooking a tomb made possible by the very man the shrine celebrates? How is it possible to see this shrine as anything other than a mockery of the hallowed grounds below it?
If this story sounds familiar, it is. Though I respect and support private property, a certain level of decorum is expected when it comes to final resting places and battlefields. I don't support Walmarts being built atop historic Civil War battlefields, I don't support etching mile high monuments on sacred lands stolen from sovereign tribes, and I cannot support a super-mosque being constructed at ground zero.
As ludicrous as my title story (false as it may be) is, the idea that sacred land can be so easily defiled is the true lunacy to which we are all witness in this mad world in which we live.