Oi vey. Here’s another one of those stories that I find so irritating, where a terrible tragedy takes place, lots of people dead, but irrational and hyper-emotional people go all gaga when a religious relic is found in the wreckage. This time it’s a Bible found in the rubble of exploded buildings in New York City.
Over three grim and grueling days of digging through the rubble of two East Harlem buildings annihilated in a gas explosion, rescue workers uncovered eight bodies and a catalog of ruined lives. On Saturday, though, they also discovered a small, but precious treasure.
Buried among the scorched debris, firefighters found a Bible belonging to the Spanish Christian Church, which occupied the basement and ground floor in 1644 Park Avenue, one of the buildings destroyed. Though dust-covered and crumpled, the Bible was largely intact, a gold inscription on its spine reading “Santa Biblia.”
A precious treasure? Finding someone alive in the rubble, that would have been precious. Finding a Bible in the rubble of a church is too mundane to notice. Seriously, what do they think happened here? God made the effort to save a Bible but let all the people die? Is that really their position here?
When firefighters presented the Bible, the church’s 83-year-old pastor, the Rev. Thomas Perez, who had often stood vigil over the blast site these past days, was overcome. Mr. Perez, who arrived near the site to lead a small prayer gathering, experienced chest pains, witnesses said, and was taken away by an ambulance.
In a news conference, Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano of the Fire Department said that Mr. Perez was recovering at Lenox Hill Hospital.
Okay, I certainly feel bad for Rev. Perez, but seriously? Even if you believed that the Bible had some meaning, that it was some kind of message of hope from God, wouldn’t the fact that the pastor collapsed with chest pain disabuse you of that notion?
“We were very proud to get that back for him,” Mr. Cassano said, referring to the Bible.
Why? It was laying there and you picked it up. Gah, save us from such irrationality.
Like Dispatches on Facebook: