Louisiana Churches Need To Rebuild As Much As Notre Dame

By Paul Brandeis Raushenbush

On Monday, April 15, the world watched with dismay as Notre Dame burned. As the spire of the beloved, iconic building fell, it felt like something had broken as there was a collective grieving. Immediately, the French leaders pledged an aggressive plan to rebuild, and just as quickly hundreds of millions of Euros came pouring from the French and around the world.

But Notre Dame was not the only church that was burning. Two weeks earlier, flames that engulfed three churches in the same parish of New Orleans on March 26, April 2 and April 4. Like Notre Dame, the three churches represented centuries of spiritual sustenance for their community, who at their lost were devastated but defiant.

There are other differences. The moment the flames were seen in Notre Dame, conspiracy theories were flying around placing blame. Yet in Louisiana, the charges of arson are already established. The religious buildings in New Orleans were historic black churches, and there is a white man, the sheriff’s son no less, who stands accused of setting fire to all three and is being charged with hate crimes. The most glaring difference was the comparative lack of help for the black communities to rebuild their sacred home.

The deep disparity was not lost on the journalist Yashar Ali who started a thread yesterday with this provocative Tweet:

Within 24 hours, Ali had continued to post encouragement to people to donate and helped to raise well over a million dollars to for the three churches and the number is growing. Please consider giving here.

On this Holy Week for Christians, we pray for those who have lost their sanctuaries, whether large or small, and that all might feel the power of love and resurrection and that justice will prevail.



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