On April 15th, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France caught on fire and continued to burn for fifteen hours. I completely understand the historical and monumental impact of this event, don’t misunderstand me. The building has stood the test of time in spite of everything it has been through. It’s not the event itself that has me feeling a certain way, it’s how people have treated this event in relation to everything going on stateside.
As someone who spends a significant amount of time on the internet, my feeds haven’t stopped talking about Notre Dame. The think pieces and photos of vacations past with a barrage of sad emojis are non-stop when the reality is the cathedral will be just fine.
For one thing, The Catholic Church as an organization is worth a TON of money estimated around $30 billion. If that wasn’t enough, let’s not forget billionaires exist. At the time of writing this, they’ve received $900 million Euro ($1,010,830,500 US).
In two days.
Will Notre Dame be the same? No, but they will be able to put it back together.
Meanwhile, three historically black churches were burned in a string of hate crimes and the public at large was silent. When it comes to the Louisiana fires, I know the only reason I keep hearing about it is because of all the black-centered media sites that I follow. Other than that, the news probably was top story for maybe a day with most of the coverage centered around the asshole that did it and the media trying to pass the blame to heavy metal music. Three guesses why. With the outcry from the internet about what is happening in our own country, people’s hearts grew three sizes that day and donated about $1.8 million to the three churches.
To put that number into perspective, that’s almost .2% of what Notre Dame received.
Look, I appreciate art as much as the next person, but this discrepancy is stark and sickening. It’s not just the Louisiana churches either. Flint still doesn’t have clean drinking water after nearly five years. Puerto Rico is still rebuilding after Hurricane Maria in September 2017. And let’s not even get started about what France did to Haiti.
The Notre Dame Cathedral getting enough money in record time feels like a slap in the face and proves the argument that the rich really COULD fix the world if they were more generous and REALLY wanted to. They could fix the cathedral AND PR AND Flint AND Louisiana. But no. The money went to a very bourgie cathedral – something that is supposed to be a structure that represents everything that Jesus Christ stood for. I’m not religious by any stretch, but everyone knows Jesus was all about hanging with people in the lower rungs of society. The poor. The sick. The outcast. The suffering. He fed and clothed them. He healed them. All-in-all Jesus was here for the people.
This amount of money serves the interests of the church, the upper tier of society and… that’s about it. Then again with the state of the world these days, I can’t say I’m shocked by this either.