Bruce Wright: ‘Respect all sacred sites and people’

The fire that partially destroyed the Iconic Cathedral, Notre Dame, though certainly sad, underscores some very important contrasts in priorities for people of faith in general, Christians in specific, and the public at large. The history, the architecture, and the stories associated with it have significant importance. However, it underscores some fundamental problems with what Christians prioritize and what people of wealth prioritize. Within hours of this occurrence, more than 300 million was raised for its restoration.

Yet the very same rich people in France refuse to support paying more for social programs in France. It also underscores the irony of Victor Hugo’s novel Hunchback of Notre Dame, a novel the highlights the Churches need to offer sanctuary to undesirables, immigrants, homeless folks and those whom society rejects, contrasted with the Wealthy and powerful, and racists’ attitudes toward the very same people, and yet they mourn the destruction of this very Cathedral. The Yellow vest protests against austerity and Government corruption further contrasts this contradiction.

Perhaps another irony is that other sacred sites all too often seem to carry less a priority than such sites as this Mosques that are burned and bombed by both the US and terrorists, Black Churches that are burned in the US, Synagogues that are desecrated, as well as White Surpemacists murder of people in Black Churches, Synagogues, and Mosques, such as the horrific slaughter of Muslims by a White Supremacist in New Zealand, further underscore this irony of what is considered sacred.

It also should not lost on people of Faith, and people of good conscience that the sacred Cathedral of the deep ecology of planet earth, the Cathedral of the planet, mother earth is being destroyed and we face extinction. As I am writing this during Holy week for Christians, and the Jewish Passover. global actions of Extinction Rebellion to stop Climate Change and mass extinction are happening. For Indigenous people, the destruction of the Creation is another, far more important, loss of a sacred site.

Lastly, while I appreciate the beauty of the symbolic and iconic Cathedrals, having visited Italy and seen it’s beautiful Cathedrals including the Vatican, and especially the Cathedral of St. Francis, which was inspiring, does not compare to the importance of standing in solidarity with the Cathedral of the oppressed and poor, with groups such as Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, in the faces of the homeless and hungry, who are the Church, who are the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12 and Matthew 25, Isaiah 58).

May we truly care for and respect all sacred sites and people.

Rev. Dr. Bruce Wright, April 16, 2019
Wright is cochair of Pinellas County Green Party; a Baptist Pastor and Director of Refuge Ministries. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Right Campaign.

4 thoughts on “Bruce Wright: ‘Respect all sacred sites and people’

  1. Chuck Moulton

    So basically people voluntarily contribute to private charity, so the Greens are mad that they can’t steal from people to discourage work and waste the money paying lazy people? Got it.

  2. wolfefan

    I’ve been a pastor for over 20 years, and I don’t completely disagree with Dr. Wright’s general thrust. I wish that people were willing to contribute to a lot of different things, but it is usually the flashy, the well-known, or the long-beloved that attract the attentions of wealthy donors and of course people should give charitably to those things they believe are worthy whether I agree or not. This is a government-owned building, so the contributions that are being made toward the rebuilding of the Cathedral will free up other monies that would likely have gone towards the rebuilding and restoration, so there will be an indirect benefit to the poor and the hungry of France.

  3. José C

    I was under the impression this is a church of the Catholic Church. We (the Church) built it centuries ago and have contributed to its use ever since then.

  4. wolfefan

    It is the property of the French government but used for the benefit of the Roman Catholic church. To cut and paste from Wikipedia FWIW: “Under the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, Notre-Dame de Paris is one of 70 churches in Paris built before that year which are owned by the French state. While the building itself is owned by the state, the Catholic Church is the designated beneficiary, having the exclusive right to use it for religious purposes in perpetuity. The archdiocese is responsible for paying the employees, for security, heating and cleaning, and for ensuring that the cathedral is open free to visitors. The archdiocese does not receive subsidies from the French state.”

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