There's been lots blogged and written recently about the proposed building of a mosque at Ground Zero in New York.
Even my old mate Andrew Blot has got in on the act.
On first impressions, it seems a pretty insensitive thing to do. The right wing blogosphere has gone completely ballistic. Mind you, that's nothing new.
Let's dig a little bit deeper. In the first place - where exactly are they planning to build it? Enlarge the map. The address is 45 - 47 Park Place Manhattan (A). The Address of Ground Zero (B) is bounded by Vessey St to the North, Liberty St to the South, Church St to the East, and the West Side Highway (logically) to the West.
If you use the New York trip planner to work out how to get from one place to another, you'll note that it takes a good five minutes. The two locations are adjacent, but this thing is not going to be built at Ground Zero.
So it's close, but it's not appropriating sacred ground.
So what's the problem? It's largely symbolic of course. Funny thing about symbols - their meaning exists purely in the human imagination. You can look at this building in one of two ways - either as a symbol of reconciliation and tolerance, or as a terrorist group posturing about their monstrous behaviour.
There is a slight - very slight possibility - that some good may come of the first interpretation. The second interpretation leads to further conflict and sorrow.
I attended a service for Vietnam Veterans' day this morning. One of the guest speakers was a young woman talking about Dr Bob Hall (ex-8 RAR) and his research team from UNSW@ADFA identifying from our military records the burial sites of 3700 VC/PAVN soldiers killed in action against Australian troops.
This is also symbolism.
It sends a simple message that what unites us is much more significant than what divides us.