It would seem that we no longer go to church to look at God. Apparently, we now go to church to look at one another. It is not a bad thing to look at one another. We are certainly taught to love our neighbors as ourselves. But to do this properly, we must first look to God and love him. We do not love our neighbor simply because she is our neighbor, we lover her because God loves us, and to practice such love we must first learn it from "Love the Lord [who] is on the way."
This does not mean that free-standing altars must be uprooted and moved. It does not matter where the altar stands: Priest and people may still face east at a free-standing altar. In ancient basilicas the altar was free-standing, but the priest came from his seat in the apse, around the altar, to face east for the eucharistic prayer. In fact, to restore such a movement to the modern liturgy would provide a striking symbol of the unity of priest and people making their common offering of themselves, their souls and bodes, to God.
From the Living Church via A Worker in the Vineyard. Thanks Fr. Lee.
I agree completley. Everyone, priest and people, should face the same direction during the offering of Eucharist. This is not, as they say, a cross to die on. But facing east is better than the alternatives.