I’ve seen a few supposedly leftist pages celebrating or laughing about the catastrophic fire that destroyed the historic cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris today. One particularly loathsome meme inappropriately uses a Buenaventura Durruti quote which says “the only church that illuminates is the one that burns in flames.”
Really? Well then would these self described “leftists” say that burning Black churches in the American south is “illuminating?” What about mosques bombed by the US or its allies? Or the destruction of Buddhist statues by the Taliban? Or how about the desecration of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries by neo-Nazis?
One can criticize and condemn the institutions of authoritarian religion, its repressive and abusive practices, its patriarchy and hierarchy, and its systemic support of reactionary government and societal trends. But to not recognize the value of place, or culture, or history, or art, or community, or strength that many of these places engender is the height of hubris. And to celebrate their destruction lacks basic humanity and the principle of solidarity. In short, it is far from leftist. It is fascist. But sadly today too many can no longer make the distinction.
Kenn Orphan (2019)
Photo is of a Black church burned by white supremacists in the American South courtesy of Getty Images.