A GoFundMe campaign for three historically black churches in Louisiana is quickly approaching it’s goal thanks, in part, to a fire that caused the spire and roof of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris to collapse on Monday.
Last week, the son of a deputy sheriff was arrested and charged with three counts of arson after he was accused of setting three predominantly black churches on fire in southern Louisiana. On Monday, 21-year-old Holden Matthews was charged with hate crimes as well. He pleaded not guilty.
Hate crimes, under Louisiana law, include acts motivated by race, religion or ancestry.
The three churches were more than a century old. Gov. John Bel Edwards called the fires, which occurred on March 26, April 2 and April 4, “evil acts” last week.
A GoFundMe campaign, hosted by the Seventh District Baptist Association, was set up on April 10th, with all funds benefiting all three churches. According to the campaign, the 149 year old organization is “working with the Governor of Louisiana, local leaders, elected officials, the impacted churches and their pastors, other faith organizations and the community to ensure 100% of all funds raised will be evenly distributed to the three churches affected.”
The campaign was thrust into the limelight this week as donations for Notre Dame came pouring in. Immediately following the fire, over $700 million was raised for the cathedral overnight, despite the fact that the Catholic Church is one of the wealthiest organizations in the world, with a net worth of over $30 billion. Corporations like Apple and Disney, as well as educational institutions like the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, have pledged to donate as well.
“We join in prayer with the faithful of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris and all of France as they begin the work of rebuilding." – Fr. Jenkins
— Notre Dame (@NotreDame) April 16, 2019
If one thing is clear, the response to the Notre Dame fire drives home the fact that the money to solve many of the world’s problems is there, but those with it care more about a landmark and history than housing the homeless, feeding starving children, and ending the world’s wars.
While many Americans shared their personal photos of past trips to Notre Dame, memories of the building and their dismay at the destruction, others were quick to share their outrage at what they felt to be a mass expression of eurocentric supremacy that ignores the destruction of buildings and lands that are significant elsewhere in the world. Many took to social media to highlight the hypocrisy of showing an outpouring of collective grief for a building in Europe likely set ablaze by accident, while staying silent on very purposeful cultural tragedies like the destruction of indigenous lands, burial sites, and other spiritually significant places and artifacts, and the destruction of centuries old holy sites and places of worship throughout the Middle East, in addition to the loss of life included in much of that destruction.
In fact, on the very same day of the Notre Dame blaze in Frace, the al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was also burning. The mosque, which happens to be even older than Notre Dame, is the third holiest site in Islam. While the origin of the fire is currently unknown, the mosque was previously set ablaze in 1969 by an Australian Christian and, unsurprisingly, it didn’t make international headlines back then and this week’s fire likely only appeared in the news thanks to what happened in France.
As more and more people sympathized with this comparison, memes, articles, and social media posts picked up steam and with them came suggestions on where to focus attention and donations, rather than on Notre Dame. Articles about and images of the al Aqsa Mosque appeared along with images of destroyed history sites in Syria, indigenous burial grounds in the United States, and the three historically black churches recently burned in Louisiana. Many of these posts came with a plea for Notre Dame mourners to open their eyes to the destruction caused by France and other colonial forces.
In the case of the three churches in Louisiana, the plea appears to have been successful. The crowdfunding campaign is now only a few hundred thousand dollars from its goal.
Video Showing UFOs Swarming Navy Warship is Real, Pentagon Confirms
Late last month, reports emerged that a number of U.S. Navy guided missile destroyers sailing off the coast near Los Angeles encountered a swarm of strange unidentified flying objects or drones in 2019. While Navy investigators looked into the strange incident, no explanation has since been given.
However, new footage has been leaked to documentary filmmaker Jeremy Corbell that shows the strange flying objects swarming above one of the ships, and the Pentagon has confirmed that the videos are authentic.
“I can confirm that the referenced photos and videos were taken by Navy personnel,” a Department of Defense spokesperson told Futurism.
In the brief footage, which appears to have been recorded with night vision cameras, triangular or pyramid-shaped objects can be seen hovering above the deck of a Navy destroyer.
According to Corbell, the Pentagon has gone to great lengths to disavow any connection to the swarming UAVs.
“This was taken on deployment from the USS Russell,” Corbell told Mystery Wire. “It shows what they described as vehicles. And they made a great distinction. They made sure in this classified briefing, they made a great distinction that this is not something that we own either a black project, this is not something of a foreign military, that these were behaving in ways that we did not expect.“
“And that they were you know shaped non aerodynamically,” he added. “Like pyramids, these are flying pyramids!”
The video, as well as a number of photos from the incident, have all been gathered by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, a group tasked with investigating encounters between the different service branches of the U.S. Armed Forces and a number of unidentified flying objects.
While officials have been baffled by the unknown flying objects, in recent years the Pentagon has been more vocal about past encounters, which they describe as having been frequent. Officials have also discouraged the use of the acronym “UFOs,” instead opting to describe them as unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs.
Prince Philip Joke About Reincarnating as Deadly Virus to ‘Solve Overpopulation’ Resurfaces
The Friday announcement of the death of Prince Philip elicited a range of reactions on social media, with some users eulogizing the late royal while others used the occasion to heap mockery upon the British monarchy.
However, others also shared an old quote from the Prince Philip where he bizarrely suggested that after he died, his wish would be that he is reincarnated as a deadly virus in order to help solve the so-called problem of overpopulation.
The decidedly anti-social quote was taken from a 2009 article published by The Guardian that listed out a number of controversial and generally distasteful quotes from the Queen’s husband on various subjects.
The full quote read: “In the event that I am reincarnated, I would like to return as a deadly virus, to contribute something to solving overpopulation.”
Tweeting a screenshot of the quote, user Riya said: “WHAT THE F*CK.”
While others replied to the misanthropic quote with a reference to the ongoing pandemic:
The Daily Express notes that the quote originates from a joking comment about deadly viruses that the prince made in a 1988 interview with Deutsche Press-Agentur. The quote was also widely shared during the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
Buckingham Palace announced the death of Prince Philip, royal consort to Queen Elizabeth II, on Friday morning.
“It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen announces the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,” the announcement read. “His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.”
As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists
The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.
However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.
While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.
The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.
The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes – but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.
“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.
To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.
However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.
These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.
The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.
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