Back in the Saddle
This might well be my best piece . . .
Thousands Protest Nagasaki's Ground-Zero Shinto-Christian Center
A 13-story, $100-million dollar Shinto-Christian cultural center in lower Nagasaki is scheduled to be built two blocks from the center of the city's Industrial Valley -- an area known as "Ground Zero" since August 9, 1945.
For months, city officials have braved a firestorm of protests over the "mega-Christian" site. Masanori Ishikawa, a conservative voice for the local Imperial Shrine said the city rushed to push the project forward and ignored the opinions of Shinto adherents and Japanese citizens who do not think the site is the right place for a church.
Shortly after 11:01 a.m. on August 9, 1945, thousands of innocent Japanese workers were massacred in a second surprise air attack by American forces that unleashed an untested nuclear weapon upon its inhabitants. Up to 75,000 civilians were instantly annihilated in Nagasaki three days after a larger attack was carried out on the innocent residents of Hiroshima.
Although U.S. forces had continually violated International War Crime Laws by dropping weapons of mass destruction on 87 Japanese cities during the previous six months, no warnings were sent by the U.S. military to the thousands of civilian men, women and children of Nagasaki notifying them of the impending peril.
Although the Shinto-Christian center is purported to be a "world-class facility that promotes tolerance, reflecting the rich diversity of Nagasaki," the center will also "serve as a platform for inter-community gatherings and cooperation at all levels, providing a space for all Nagasakians to enjoy."
It's too soon," said Ishikawa. "America has always proclaimed that it was a Christian nation, built on moral principles. To have a mega-church built within two blocks of where adherents of Christianity ruthlessly killed so many of our citizens would be a slap in the face. Even after sixty-five years, the wounds to our citizens are still fresh."
Ishikawa reiterated that, "although Christians in this nation are free to worship as they please, what they really want is for this center to be a breeding-ground for Christianic extremists."
"And what a strange religion they have!" exclaimed Akira Tokushima, Head Imperial Member. "They claim to worship one god, yet this god sent himself to commit suicide so that he could be resuscitated, and then proclaimed that if you don't believe that he lived forever, then you'll experience eternal torture."
Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, was quoted, saying that, "I really can't understand these tea-ceremony Shinto fundamentalists. Don't they know that our constitution allows for a free expression of religion? If the government or voters inhibit that by denying the Shinto-Christian Center to be built, then the whole meaning of Japan's constitution is worthless."
Kan sighed reflectively. "Is that what the tea-ceremonialists really want?"