Sarah Palin’s church was a victim of arson. Over a million dollars worth of damage–to the building. And for what? What good was accomplished by someone burning the building?
I never have been able to understand the logic in these type of actions. Someone burns a building to punish x. X is tangentially impacted. That is to say, x hears about it and is marginally affected.
Burning Sarah’s church makes about as much sense as rioters burning down the stores and buildings in their own neighborhoods. When the fire goes out, the problems are still there–and the goods and services once available to those who must deal with those problems and who live in those neighborhoods are no longer available because they’ve been burned out. Zero logic in this–and the only thing accomplished is that those who must deal with the challenges have added more problems to their list.
The senselessness in these crimes warns that those who commit them are angry, but they’re also not stopping to consider that they’re hurting themselves as well as unintended, innocent others. In the case of this church, those others are the needy and children.
Sarah’s church, like most churches, provides Christmas gifts for the needy and for children who otherwise would have no gifts on Christmas. It provided help for those in the community who need basic necessities. Things like food and clothing.
Now how in anyone’s estimation is destroying basic necessities for kids and needy adults doing anything good? Anything worth doing? What constructive comes from a church’s inability to assist, to give a child a gift at Christmas? A hungry family, food?
As I write this, my heart is heavy and my despair for the wisdom of these misguided and thoughtless actions spirals. I do believe these acts are seeds and they will harvest from what they plant. We all do. That they will receive what they’ve given adds weight on the heart and the despair. It threatens a slope that is slick and one that once you slide down, it’s extremely difficult to climb back up.
Others will step up and donate through places like teamsarah.org to get those in need food and gifts for the kids. They’ll help the church get back on its feet. And knowing they will lightens the heart and eases the despair. But that they must do so rather than dedicate those resources to some new constructive venture irritates.
If the church were not destroyed, and the gifts and resources to assist remained intact, then those new resources being gathered to replace those destroyed could be used for other good works.
So today I’ll try to remember that donating to this worthy cause gives some an opportunity to rise to the occasion. To plant good seeds that they later will harvest. And I’ll petition for a special blessing for all those impacted and, yes, for the arsonist. May s/he see the reality of destructive actions and elect not to repeat them.
And when the universal scales balance, and the consequences come back to the arsonist, I’ll dare to hope the lessons in this event have been learned and other choices are made. I’ll dare to hope that the weight of the consequences now and then don’t destructively impact others as well the arsonist.
What worries me so is that once again in this, good sense and everyday logic has fallen to self-centeredness and greed. Morals and ethics and conscience that prevent destructive behavior are absent, and this is yet another case proving the impact when that happens.
Law, it is said, makes a society civil. To that, I say that, yes, I believe that. But I also believe that morals and ethics make a society respectful and compassionate. Law can’t stand for long without morals and ethics supporting it.
In everyday life, we’re seeing and living with the impact of too little regard for law and too little compassion.
When one looks back at history, one sees that corruption and greed were at the core of the fall of the Roman Empire. In 1860, corruption and greed (corrupt morals and ethics was a big part of that!) were at the core of the proverbial breaking of the straw that sent this country tumbling into a Civil War.
I sincerely hope we don’t repeat these challenges but learn from them and get our act together. We might have earned the hard lessons we’re determined to be taught, but our kids and grands haven’t, and if we don’t get our act together and start placing value on morals and ethics, respecting law, and acting with passion tempered by compassion, then they too will pay for our lapses.
The costs are high. Too high to willingly pay. And history is too rich with proof of it for us to stand idle and by default embrace an encore.
The good news is moment of every day offers the opportunity to make better choices. For the arsonists and for all of us. Change begins with one decision, and ripples outward . . . forever.