By Quin Hillyer at the Washington Examiner, April 30;

There’s been so much sad news from cathedralschurchessynagogues, and mosques in recent weeks, months, and years. All political sides may find common ground in the idea of protecting sacred spaces.

Indeed, it might be time for conservative former Education Secretary Bill Bennett and former Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman to reinvigorate a project they co-sponsored more than 20 years ago called “Partners for Sacred Spaces.” Time, too, for Americans of all goodwill to rally to the cause.

The Bennett-Lieberman effort from 1998 was interested more broadly with the quotidian decay of sacred places as community treasures and social centers — not specifically or only with physical safety. Whether by assault, accident, or decay, though, the point is much the same, as those bipartisan leaders wrote: “We now have compelling evidence that sacred places are shared places that serve people of all faiths and of all stations … The history of religious properties in America is also inextricably tied with a broader vision of community. The earliest churches doubled as town halls and village centers. As those villages grew to metropolises, the religious community found new ways to design and use their buildings to serve the changing needs of growing populations.”

Also, of course, places of worship usually are places of exquisite beauty. Consider the April 25 column “Sacred Spaces Matter: Beauty Calls the World to God,” by John Stonestreet and G. Shane Morris of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

“The human impulse to beautify spaces, and to mourn the loss of spaces, points to a truth about God and ourselves,” they wrote. “In a time when attacking church buildings has become a favorite means of attacking God, His people, and even cultural order, we should never forget what even arsonists and vandals know: that beauty matters, and stones can sometimes preach.”…. [The full column is here.]


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