I have to update my position on the mosque in New York. As you remember I ended up saying that it was a decision only New Yorkers could make. But it turns out they really don't care. And I've seen with my own two eyes and ears that it's true.
The part of town by the World Trade Center is very calm and peaceful. And that part of town is only a part. New York is a very diverse town and that's putting it mildly. You hear every language spoken. You see people dressed in every costume according to their customs. And everyone is getting along. This town gets friendlier every time I visit. Or maybe I'm just getting more comfortable because travel does that to you.
There is also a secure feeling in this town. There are police everywhere and cameras recording every movement. I have a feeling if I sneezed and needed a hanky I could get one in 30 seconds by asking a cop. I know I've asked for directions about fifty times today from everyone including several policemen and never had a less than friendly response.
Elizabeth and I went by St Paul's Chapel today. That's the Episcopal church two blocks from Ground Zero. On Sept 12 the rector went to see if his ancient old church still stood and was amazed to find it untouched. His response was that, of course....God left it untouched not because it was special but because it had special work ahead. And they did perform an amazing ministry. This is the church that took out their pews and put in cots for volunteers to come and eat or sleep or cry.
I tried to light a candle in prayer for peace and found that not only was every available candle burning but some had burned down so far there wasn't any wax left. Then we went outside and to see the Bell of Hope
I would rather light a candle than curse the darkness. I would rather ring a bell of hope than burn a book. And it looks like the people of New York City agree.