[In January 2019, Patra Taylor decided to jump into the churning waters of opinion writing with her own iteration of opinion writing with RAWW, Rants of an Angry White Woman…quite a transformation from the humor she specialized in for a decade and a half.]
RIP Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris
Last month, Christians sat transfixed in front of their television or computer screens watching the orange glow of flames devastate Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, an 800-year-old icon for believers around the world. The day before the fire, the cathedral WAS considered one of the finest examples of Gothic architecture in France. With billions of dollars already pledged from the faithful around the world, the French government, which controls the medieval structure, vows to rebuild the cathedral in five…six years at the most.
There between the still-standing but damaged north and south towers of Notre-Dame lays a charred pile of rubble, overlaid with a toxic layer of lead from the roof that will somehow be resurrected…made whole…by the tenacity of one President Emmanuel Macron and his minions in little more than half a decade for what took generations of artisans to build. Ain’t happening. Returning the Notre-Dame Cathedral to its former glory will take nothing shy of a miracle, however, the great giver of miracles has been unceremoniously shown the door.
Despite the rejection of God by the intelligent and ever so sophisticated French people, many Christians are still scratching their heads and asking what really went wrong on that fateful evening of April 15 in the heart of Paris? Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute, posed the question this way: “How at the supposed apex of Western technology, science, and affluence could a sudden inferno devour the spire, roof, and some of the interior icons of the nearly 800-year-old cathedral, itself perched on the bank of a river, and the survivor of centuries of desecrations, remodels, expansions, and repairs, when the arts of preservation, fire prevention and response, and engineering were supposedly backward by our standards?”
How, indeed, Mr. Hanson?
He continues, “And now the second-most-revered church in the West smolders – something that neither French revolutionaries nor World War II bombers could accomplish. In our smug era of high tech and conspicuous consumption, Western Europeans and Americans do not build Christian cathedrals anymore. Our challenge is simply to keep standing – at least sort of – what we inherited.”
We have squandered our inheritance. Available technologies were not installed. Fire alarms were discounted. General apathy about God’s house abounded. Here in the aftermath of this tragic event in Christian history, we have witnessed the final remnant of French Catholicism come to its knees.
Without any personal commentary on the fire’s origins, it seems to me the burning of God’s house in Paris was the climax of a long stretch of vandalism of France’s holy places. Perhaps Allah himself struck the match, with his followers watching with their marshmallow sticks in hand, begging for “s’mores.” Or perhaps it was an inevitable accident, an electrical spark near the ancient wooden rafters where a sprinkler system was called for months before, but the government declined to fund. We may never know the truth of what really caused the fire, as any answer is the same answer: We failed to keep God’s house standing.
Despites the rejection of God in France, the Great I Am is still welcome here in American, right? No, not really. America’s relationship with God is on life support. Let’s look at a few facts.
Meet Marc Lamparello. Two days after the burning of the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Mr. Lamparello strolled into St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City carrying cans of gasoline and lighter fluid. This 37-year-old graduate student and philosophy teacher (yes, he teaches our children) intended to burn St. Patrick’s Cathedral to the ground with one flic of his Bic. He had also booked a one-way flight to Rome and a hotel room a few minutes’ drive from the Vatican. I doubt he was there to ask for forgiveness.
In other news, three African American churches were burned in 10 days in a single Louisiana Parish during April.
Lest we forget the October 2018 shooting in the Tree of Life synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. And Charleston residents will never forget our own precious nine who were murdered at the Emanuel AME Church in June of 2015.
But the angst against God goes deeper than these blatant displays against our Judeo-Christian heritage in American. Through the years, God has been kicked out of our schools. His laws have been eradicated from the walls of our judicial centers. He has been escorted out of our public buildings and outdoor spaces. And God is being systematically erased from our historical documents. Don’t believe me?
Your government just spent nearly $700 million of your tax dollars on the new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, a large underground addition to the Capitol complex that serves as a gathering point for tourists. While the United States of America was founded as “one nation under God” there is no mention of God anywhere in the complex including on the depiction of the U.S. Constitution. The phrase “in the year of our Lord” just above the signatures of the signers has been deviously Photo-shopped out of the document. And the welcome center proudly proclaims the national motto of this great nation: E pluribus unum (out of many, one). But in fact, the national motto of these great United States is “In God we trust,” as reaffirmed by Congress in 2011.
The number of Americans claiming to have no religion is on the rise. Where lies the tipping point between mourning the burning of an ancient house of God, and stoking the fire a bit more to get a more even toasting of one’s marshmallows?
It’s probably too late for France. The intent of those who built the Notre-Dame Cathedral and their passion for the Holy Trinity went up in flames. Today’s people of France don’t have it in them to return that holy structure to its glorious state prior to the fire. Make no mistake about it…with the burning of Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, we just witnessed the last gasp of Christianity in France. Viva la France. God is dead.
By all indications, America isn’t far behind. Christendom is burning. What are we going to do about it?
Copyright © 2019 by Patra Taylor Bucher. All rights reserved.