What does “hallowed ground” mean? Does the planned Muslim community center near the World Trade Center site desecrate hallowed ground?
Many opponents say it does, and it should be built elsewhere. One prominent rabbi calls it a “great idea” in the wrong location. The 9/11 site is a cemetery, he said, for the 3,000 victims of the terrorist attacks. Sarah Palin uses the phrase “hallowed ground” in her argument on Facebook: “Many Americans, myself included, feel it would be an intolerable and tragic mistake to allow such a project sponsored by such an individual to go forward on such hallowed ground. This is nothing close to ‘religious intolerance,’ it’s just common decency.”
Just what does “hallowed ground” mean? According to the Free Online Dictionary, “hallowed” has two meanings: sanctified and respected. Sanctified means “holy or kept for religious use.” An example is “buried in hallowed ground.” Respected means “regarded with great respect or reverence.”
The 9/11 site is not religiously consecrated land, but it is certainly respected and revered. Great atrocities were committed on September 11th. This is one reason why the 9/11 site is considered hallowed ground.
By that definition, however, almost anywhere we walk is hallowed ground. Here’s an example. I grew up in a New England town, living on a paved street that had been a cow path. This meandering lane was named after a local Native American tribe. The only evidence of their existence was the street name, a few arrowheads my mother had found, and a huge bolder with a rough-hewn face on it. The original inhabitants were extinct. If you look at a map of early America you can see that hundreds of tribes lived throughout the region. The land was hardly empty when the colonizers arrived. If there were any descendents of these Native Americans left, I am sure they would consider their tribal lands hallowed ground.
The 9/11 site is hallowed ground.
Do you think this is a sufficient argument against the Muslim center?
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