Does this offend you? It is a photo of Yasukini Jinja (Shrine) (or 安国神社).
I have to say, to me their website has one of the characteristics of the Focus on the Family website: it kind of ignores the fact that there were lots of nasty things done, and puts a religious veneer on that avoidance of nastiness.
The Kami of Yasukuni Jinja offered up their lives in battle with prayers for the eternal independence and peace of Japan, and the sincere wish that wonderful history and traditions of Japan, left to us by our ancestors, will continue to be conveyed to future generations.
The peace and prosperity of Japan today is the fruit of the noble work of the Kami of Yasukuni Jinja.
Let us have greater love for "Our Japan" that the Kami of Yasukuni Jinja sacrificed even their lives to defend.
I think this mixing of politics and religion is as bad as any other- and quite a bit worse than many.
Having said that, the dead are the dead who became dead in the struggle of war, a struggle often marred, instigated, and continued by a fatal stupidity. And the vast majority of the dead, certainly those remembered as 安国神社, were somebody's children in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps drunken with nationaist idealism, but who, in another time and place, would hardly hurt a fly. But they did ofen try to hurt people from other countries, often successfully. And sometimes, no doubt, they died heroically.
We have, of course, our own Yasukuni Shrine in the US, and similar things could be said:
The vast majority of the dead commemorated in US wars were somebody's children in the wrong place at the wrong time, perhaps drunken with nationaist idealism, but who, in another time and place, would hardly hurt a fly. But they did try to hurt people from other countries, often successfully. And sometimes, no doubt, they died heroically.
We can best remember the dead and honor them not by tying little flags to our cars, having picnics and barbecues and shopping sprees, but by actively practicing peace and wisdom, and understanding the causes and circumstances in which people from all countries fought and died, and attempting to see that those conditions that gave rise to such bloody bellicosity do not arise again. Those conditions still exist today; can we use them to cultivate wisdom, generosity and kindness, and thereby extinguish the desire for violence?