Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - What About the Ground Zero Church? Archdiocese Says Officials Abandoned Project
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America accused New York officials on Tuesday of turning their backs on the reconstruction of the only church destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, while the controversial mosque near Ground Zero moves forward. 
The sidelined project is the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a tiny, four-story building destroyed in 2001 when one of the World Trade Center towers fell on top of it. Nobody from the church was hurt in the attack, but the congregation has for the past eight years been trying to rebuild its house of worship. 
While the mosque project cleared red tape earlier this month, negotiations between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the church stalled last year -- and will not be revived, according to government officials. Though the particulars of the two projects are completely different and on the surface unrelated, the church and its supporters see a disconnect in the way the proposals have been handled. 
An archdiocese official said Tuesday that the situation has created "consternation" for those still struggling to jump-start talks over the church.
"We have people that are saying, why isn't our church being rebuilt and why is there ... such concern for people of the mosque?" Father Alex Karloutsos, assistant to the archbishop, told He said "religious freedom" would allow a place of worship for any denomination to be built, but accused officials with the Port Authority of making no effort to help move the congregation's project along.
"Unfortunately, they have just been silent -- dead silent, actually," said Karloutsos, whose father was ordained at St. Nicholas. "They just simply forgot about the church." 
The Port Authority and the church announced a deal in July 2008 under which the Port Authority would grant land and up to $20 million to help rebuild it in a new location -- in addition, the authority was willing to pay up to $40 million to construct a bomb-proof platform underneath. 
Within a year, the deal fell through and talks ended. Port Authority officials told Fox News that the deal is dead.
Yet Obama's reaction remains clear.

There's no question this is an act of provocation and even Muslims know it.  A couple of them have written about it in the Canadian media.  But there's no doubt here, right?  By the way, the same imam has a mosque 12 blocks away from Ground Zero.  He wants to have one two blocks away, community outreach, and Obama, there you heard it, clearly enforcing it.  But then the fur flew and Saturday afternoon on CNN's Newsroom after Obama delivered his remarks about the Gulf oil spill Ed Henry talked to him about the mosque business.  He said, "What do you think about the reaction to your speech about the mosque?  What about the reaction?"

OBAMA:  Well, you know, my intention was to simply let people know what I thought, which was that in this country we treat everybody equally in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion.  I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom making a decision to put a mosque there.  I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding.  That's what our country's about.  And I think it's very important that as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.

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