So what’s happened to respect these days?
A few weeks ago, late on a Friday night, at least one person decided it was a good idea to head to Second Baptist Church in western Goochland and take a few rails from the fence out front.
This person(s) then chose to use those rails to bash in 21 windows, including four made of stained glass.
And, the vandal(s) bent the cross that rose above a sign for a church that was established about 127 years ago.
An adjacent school building was also targeted.
“Why would someone do this to a church?” said Second Union Trustee John Trent during an interview with The Goochland Gazette.
I don’t know the answer to this question, just as I don’t understand why Congressman Joe Wilson chose to disrupt a presidential speech last week by shouting out accusations in a manner more evocative of a school child than a statesman.
Each of these actions reveals a fundamental lack of respect for the institutions that serve our county and our country.
Second Union School was built in 1918. From 1917 until 1932, Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck & Company, funded schools in areas where adequate educational facilities for black students didn’t exist. Of the thousands of schools The Rosenwald Foundation built across the South, Second Union is the only one that still stands in its original form.
Last spring the National Trust for Historic Preservation awarded a grant to Second Union to rehabilitate the school, to make it a center for the history of Goochland’s black education.
I do not understand what would impel anyone to walk around any church or school, and systematically smash its windows.
Some people in our country have speculated that Wilson felt at ease heckling President Obama because our president is black. Some in our county wonder if those who committed felony vandalism at Second Union Baptist Church, did so because of its historic ties to the black community.
Sheriff Agnew says that what happened at Second Union is now the Crime of the Week for Crimestoppers. “Hopefully that will result in some useful tips,” he said.
I hope so.
And I hope that Wilson yelled at our president because he just happens to be the kind of guy who yells at presidents.
And I hope that the people involved in busting up Second Union did so because they are the kind of people that like to destroy what others build.
Because the idea that that they were emboldened by racism… just leaves me feeling hopeless.