Notre Dame Cathedral has stood since medieval times as a symbol of Paris, its inhabitants, and their faith.
After the catastrophic fire Monday that destroyed the cathedral’s roof and iconic spire, and scorched the inside of the church, Parisians have vowed to rebuild.
The world reached out through social media to express grief and sadness with the French people, but one response is standing out from the others, both for what was said — and what wasn’t.
Rep. Ilhan Omar, fresh off the fallout from downplaying the 9/11 attacks, apparently hasn’t learned a single lesson from the tidal wave of outrage she faced.
The Minnesota Democrat’s response to the Notre Dame fire is conspicuously absent of any mention of the religious purpose of the cathedral itself, or its place in Western Christianity as one of the most iconic churches in the world.
Art and architecture have a unique ability to help us connect across our differences and bring people together in important ways. Thinking of the people of Paris and praying for every first responder trying to save this wonder.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) April 15, 2019
And there it is — the Notre Dame Cathedral was just reduced to “art and architecture.”
Although she did call it a “wonder,” which it most certainly is, considering the groundbreaking structural designs that stand as a testament to the strength and beauty of Gothic construction, Twitter users were not happy with Omar’s reaction.
Did something happen to some building?
— Harry Khachatrian (@Harry1T6) April 15, 2019
Amazing you found a way to phrase this without saying “Notre Dame,” “cathedral,” or “church.”
— Angela Morabito (@AngelaLMorabito) April 16, 2019
A Christian Church burns and she is concerned about art and architecture. I wonder if that would be her take if Mecca burned.
— Carmine Sabia (@CarmineSabia) April 15, 2019
This disaster, although difficult to imagine for the faithful who depend on the cathedral for religious services, shouldn’t have been hard to respond to.
A simple “thoughts and prayers” for the congregation, the first responders, and the clergy would have been sufficient.
To go even further, sympathizing with the Christian community for the near-destruction of a religious icon might have been more than enough.
But expecting that from someone who downplayed 9/11 as simply an event where “some people did something” may be too much to ask.
Omar had an opportunity here to reach out to people of a faith different from her own, as well as work to repair the damage done by her previous comments.
But she torched that chance to the ground with a single tweet.
Under the circumstances, it would have been better if she hadn’t commented at all.
Ilhan Omar can easily rectify her mistakes with a public apology, but no one familiar with her public life so far will be expecting that.
We can only hope the lawmaker does better during the next catastrophe.
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