On destroying things: there must be a better way

A correspondent of The Leader’s editorial writer vehemently objects to calling the burning of Catholic churches the behaviour of ‘extremists.’ Considering what was done to the original inhabitants of this continent, she said, it’s not extreme at all.

Well, the Catholic Church has a lot to answer for, no question. So does the Anglican Church, pretty much every other organization that has ever had power over other people – very much including governments, armies, political parties and so on.

Reconciliation is everybody’s business, it turns out. Even those of us who didn’t think they were involved at all, somehow were. Are. Let’s get on with it. Our governments need to step up to the plate, but so do we, as individuals, to make sure we are not perpetuating bad, harmful attitudes.

But burning churches? What good can that do?

‘They’re only buildings,’ says another correspondent. ‘Get over it.’

Yes, they are only buildings. We’d like to say that no good ever came from destroying something (or someone). But that might not be quite right. Efforts to get the attention of those in power, though, can certainly go too far, and easily could end up hurting the wrong people.

A good example of that is in South Sudan, where not long ago, armed militias made sport of burning villages and murdering their inhabitants – apparently just to get the attention of the central government.

There have to be ways to make progress without violence and destruction.

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